‘No option other than to take this action’
MEASURES that will restrict the freedom to move around more than during the Occupation have been introduced in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Civil Contingencies Authority chair Gavin St Pier re-iterated that there would be no hesitation in moving quickly – and that was exactly what had happened after community spread on Guernsey was identified.
‘Even during the Occupation, the islands’ residents had more personal freedom to move about our islands than will be the case for the time being, which illustrates the scale of the threat to the community and our willingness to take tough decisions quickly,’ he said, adding that the new measures will allow for anyone who is infected, but currently not showing symptoms, the chance to develop and show those symptoms. This can take 14 days.
‘Some of these will almost certainly require hospital care, hence the strategy which is to try and prevent further cases that are likely to push our hospital and healthcare services beyond our ability to cope.’
He said the advice was simply: stay home.
Health & Social Care president Heidi Soulsby said that a lockdown meant different things in different jurisdictions.
‘As we have always said, the actions we have taken have been guided by the advice from our Director of Public Health, learning from experiences overseas but at all times considering what is appropriate for the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
This has meant we have adopted a cautious approach, doing the right thing at the right time taking into account the fact we are a small community with only one hospital and without the infrastructure of a larger jurisdiction.
‘That has determined our decision to lockdown now and that has informed what we are now asking of you, the people of the Bailiwick over the coming weeks to help us minimise the impact of the spread of the disease and protect our community from the worst that it could do.
‘We are not doing this because of what the UK did yesterday.’
She added later: ‘We are facing the most formidable foe that we have seen since the Second World War that has the potential to cause the death of so many in our community before their time.
‘We now have no option other than to take this action.’