New evidence is emerging of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). This new variant appears to spread more quickly and appears to be responsible for rapidly rising cases of COVID-19 in the South East of England.
Guernsey’s Public Health Services are continually monitoring the evidence with a view to how this new variant might impact on the self-isolation and border controls.
here is no current evidence to suggest that this new strain causes a higher mortality rate or that it affects vaccines and treatments, although urgent work is underway to confirm this.
Following the UK’s announcement regarding changes to their COVID-19 requirements on Saturday, along with countries in Europe implementing strict border controls, its clear that the community will be worried about how this impacts the Bailiwick.
Guernsey’s current self-isolation (14 days self-isolation from category 4 countries or regions) and testing requirements (day 1 and day 13 testing) have served well in managing the detection of COVID-19 in the Bailiwick. There is no current evidence of community seeding in the Bailiwick. Indeed, other jurisdictions are now looking to implement similar testing regimes now the new variant has been identified.
In order to keep detecting cases and preventing community spread it is asked that anyone who is travelling into the Bailiwick of Guernsey to take the test on day 1 and also take up the offer of the Day 13 test. If you have friends or family due to arrive in the Bailiwick please encourage them to take both tests. The day 13 test is important as it identifies people who have incubated the virus whilst in self-isolation with no symptoms. This final ‘belt and braces’ check ensures the virus is contained and the risk of community seeding is removed.
It is also a necessity that people self-isolate properly. Although it is boring and very difficult for people, it is essential to keep the community safe and to allow people to go about their daily business with no restrictions. Please follow the guidance on travelling from the ports of arrival to your self-isolation address.
Testing and self-isolation are considered the best line of defence in reducing the impact of COVID-19. It is essential that the community continue to work with the States as they deal with this current phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guernsey’s Civil Contingencies Authority (CCA) will be meeting early tomorrow morning to review the latest developments and consider if any changes to the Bailiwick’s current restrictions should be made. The CCA will then hold a live COVID-19 press briefing at 1pm on 22nd December.