Coronavirus: Guernsey in lockdown from midnight tonight
ISLANDERS will have to stay at home, non-essential shops will shut and gatherings of more than two people will be banned under strict new rules starting at midnight tonight [Tuesday].
It comes after the first case of community transmission of the coronavirus was confirmed with 23 people now testing positive.
People will be allowed out of their homes only in very limited circumstances.
Police will be given the powers to enforce the new restrictions – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
The measures are in place initially for two weeks.
‘These measures introduce the most far-reaching deprivation of personal liberties since the Second World War. These are not decisions that we have taken lightly. The impact of these decisions are far reaching but I am absolutely certain that it is the right thing to do to protect our community,' said Policy & Resources president Gavin St Pier.
'Stay in regular touch by phone or video call with friends and family. We will continue to update gov.gg so that you have reliable source of facts. This decision does not change my other advice from yesterday: don’t panic; keep calm; stay strong; and maintain good personal hygiene among your household.
'Rest assured that the whole of government is mobilised to continue to do everything we can to protect you, your families, as well as ours. We will never compromise or risk that overriding objective.’
Full details of these strict measures are available online and will be delivered to all households tomorrow by Guernsey Post.
Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink said: 'The Public Health Team having identified a case of community seeding together with reviewing the broader local evidence of Covid-19 cases and international developments has decided that the most appropriate course of action is to introduce these strict measures for an initial period of 14 days. This will give us time to commission and start on-island testing, which will give us a clear idea as to the extent of on-island seeding.
'The single most important action we can now take as a community in fighting the coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect our island and our medical infrastructure and save lives.'
Reducing day-to-day contact between people will limit the spread of the virus.
Due to the late hour of the direction, it was acknowledged that islanders will need to complete vital actions in regard to safety, security and contractual obligations such as properly securing building sites to make them safe for a minimum two-week period, securing and locking of vulnerable property equipment, or going through the house move on the day of exchange ie. when contracts have been signed, furniture is in transit to a new home and the legal obligation is to vacate.
‘Today a significant and life-changing decision has been made to impose these new measures on our community,' said Health & Social Care president Heidi Soulsby.
'I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their efforts. The situation has developed at pace and we need a community approach to protect each other during these difficult times.
'From tomorrow, we will be collating information and resources to support people’s mental wellbeing during this challenging time. We will make this information available online and work with our media colleagues to ensure islanders are aware of support that they can access.'
Education provision for the children of critical workers will continue during this 14-day period.
Retailers will have measures in place from first thing tomorrow in order to manage supplies and ensure people do not buy more than they need, the States said.
‘This final and significant decision was made at 5pm and therefore, while planning has taken place, implementation of these plans is being pulled together this afternoon. We know islanders will have many questions following these announcements,' said Deputy St Pier.
'The key take away message from this announcement is stay inside. I cannot stress this enough – if there really are any sceptics out there, even they, surely, have now grasped the importance of everyone doing what we have been saying – namely, you must follow public health advice.'
The answers to Frequently asked Questions are available online.
- If you start to feel unwell, you should continue to follow the public health advice on how to self-isolate from others within your home call the coronavirus helpline 01481 756938 or 01481 756969. These two numbers will be manned between 8am and 10pm.