Coronavirus: 15 new cases confirmed in Guernsey

FIFTEEN new cases of coronavirus have now been confirmed in Guernsey.

15 new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed. (27606478)
15 new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed. (27606478)

All of the cases involve a clear travel history.

The individuals had recently returned from the UK, France, Tenerife, Spain, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The new cases bring the Bailiwick total to 17.

Health officials are confident that none of the cases was acquired locally, so there is no evidence yet of on-island spread.

On Friday, there were two confirmed cases, and the surge in numbers has come from test samples taken between last Tuesday and Thursday.

There are 61 cases which are still awaiting results, and these samples were all taken earlier between Wednesday 11 March and Saturday 14 March.

They were sent to a different laboratory, which is experiencing delays in processing.

The director of public health, Dr Nicola Brink, said they are increasing the number of staff in the tracing unit to manage the contacts around the new positive cases.

'Guernsey has prepared for Covid-19 using World Health Organization guidelines for managing a pandemic, that is you design your response so that it is specific to your local jurisdiction.

'Guernsey included countries on its Group A and Group B lists for affected areas much sooner than Public Health England.

'We took into account our ageing demographic and the number who have holiday homes in France and mainland Spain.

'This has allowed us to design a Bailiwick-specific response. It is encouraging that our more cautious approach has resulted in us picking up these cases.

The island's most senior politician, Deputy Gavin St Pier, said the number of new cases backed up the need for island's stringent containment measures.

'Whilst these restrictive measures are viewed by some as an inconvenience, the results that we have received over the last 24 hour starkly demonstrate why those decisions have been made.

'Additional resources have been made available to support Public Health and I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved. They are working incredibly hard to do their utmost to support our community.

'Let's be clear, we know and have always known that we will have more positive cases in Guernsey but the good news is we have no cases of transmission within the community and so remain in the 'contain' phase of our plan.'

As the situation became more serious, the president of Health & Social Care, Deputy Heidi Soulsby, called on the community to consider their behaviour and how it impacted on the elderly and the vulnerable.

'We only have one hospital and a small health and care infrastructure. The behaviour of our community will either protect that infrastructure or bring it to its knees.

'We cannot send patients off-island as UK hospitals are full. No single member of our hospital services team wants to be in a position where we are having to decide who to treat because of a lack of resources.

'Everyone absolutely must work with us and pull together as a community to prevent the spread of Covid-19.'

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