Guernsey’s Civil Contingencies Authority (CCA) agreed at its meeting on the 7th January, that non-essential travel into the Bailiwick should not take place. This is in light of developments with the coronavirus pandemic in the UK over recent days.
Cases in the UK are continuing to rise, including cases of the recently-identified new strains of the virus, and the UK has introduced its own travel restrictions for both travel within the country and travel in and out of the country.
The CCA met twice this week and monitored developments in the UK daily. While broadly travel numbers are already low and the UK’s restrictions mean this is likely to reduce further, the CCA believes its decision to move to new, tougher restrictions for ‘essential-only’ travel will be a further security by reducing the risk of the virus being
imported into Islands.
Essential travel means:
- for a compassionate purpose (including but not limited to supporting a dependent relative),
- to receive medical treatment,
- to undertake essential business that cannot be transacted remotely,
- to attend school, university or other further education,
- for permanent Bailiwick residents, to return home if they are currently off-Island,
- to travel for the purposes of critical work, as an approved critical worker (in line with the existing critical worker application process)
Essential travel does not include travel:
- to visit friends and family based in the Bailiwick
- to work in the Bailiwick if that work is not critical work and approved through the critical worker application process
New guidance is being published on gov.gg/coronavirus and advice can be sought by calling the COVID-19 non-clinical helpline on 01481 717118.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache, Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority said: “The measures we have already at our borders have been extremely robust, and have kept our community safe. The move to essential-only travel does not replace those, all of the existing requirements remain. Travellers must still strictly abide by our self-isolation requirements.
“But if you have a visit to Guernsey planned that is not essential, if you’re planning to spend a bit of time here visiting friends or family or you’re thinking of using Guernsey as a base to work from temporarily when your work isn’t critical to the running of the Islands, then my message is this: cancel your plans, do not travel here.
“We know the impact of even one case that enters our community undetected can have a serious impact on the freedoms we currently enjoy. We are not like other jurisdictions who are managing COVID within their communities, we want to preserve the very good position we’re in. We’ve seen how the Isle of Man has had
to react, hard and fast, to the identification of just a handful of cases. Personally I commend the swift and decisive action taken by our Manx friends and believe we would do the same, but we want to do everything we reasonably can to avoid that situation.”