Guernsey’s Civil Contingencies is suspending the country and region categorisations temporarily, and treating all arrivals into the Bailiwick as ‘Category 4’ arrivals from 20th January.
While the non-essential travel ban is in place, the CCA feels it is right to designate all countries and regions as Category 4 to give absolute clarity on its intentions regarding travel and to ensure the robustness of border restrictions. The CCA has also agreed that the categorisation of countries and regions should resume when the non-essential travel ban is lifted.
This means all arrivals must self-isolate for 21 days, or after receiving negative tests both on arrival and on day 13, regardless of their travel history. This is unlikely to have a material impact on the vast majority of travellers as all of the destinations where travellers are travelling from directly are already Category 4.
Recently, the Civil Contingencies Authority introduced the temporary ban on all nonessential travel in response to the high prevalence seen in neighbouring jurisdictions and the additional concern of the new strain identified in the UK. New strains have also been identified in Brazil and South Africa. The non-essential travel ban is intended to reduce incoming traveller numbers to reduce further the risk of cases being imported into the community as this critical time where the roll out of its vaccination programme is underway.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache, Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority said: “We have less restrictive rules for some Categories and right now, those are only on paper as in practice we know everyone coming to the Bailiwick is coming from a Category 4 region. But given we are treating travel with such seriousness that a ban has had to be introduced on non-essential journeys, we should also make absolutely clear that those who do arrive will be subject to our highest level of self-isolation and testing requirements.
Dr Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health said: “Maintaining our good position has never been more important, as we see the consequences of community transmission of the virus in our neighbouring jurisdictions and the emergence of variant of SARS-CoV-2.
“If the virus is able to enter our community and if it results in community seeding, it’s possible we may need to introduce the kind of on-island restrictions we saw in the Spring of 2020 in the Bailiwick, and are currently seeing elsewhere, and that could have a real impact on the health and well-being of islanders, as well as on how quickly and effectively we can deliver the vaccines. Given the global situation, we must be extremely careful and not underestimate the potential for our situation to change. Our self-isolation and testing requirements are rigorous, but they are our best way of preventing reseeding of our community with the virus.”