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Non-essential travel will be allowed, but with self-isolation

News | Published:

NON-ESSENTIAL travel is set to restart under phase four of Guernsey’s exit from lockdown on 30 May.

Civil Contingencies Authority chairman Deputy Gavin St Pier at yesterday’s briefing. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28298027)

But anyone travelling into the island will still have to self-isolate for 14 days and there are limited flights available.

The States is looking at the possibility of ‘air bridges’ with some locations which have low levels of the illness, but nothing has been decided yet.

The latest announcement comes just a week after Aurigny cancelled its scheduled services, apart from the Alderney and Southampton lifeline routes, until the end of August.

Condor this week announced it was to restart passenger sailings to the UK from Jersey in June – a move which took Jersey’s government by surprise – but it is not clear when a Guernsey passenger service may restart.

Civil Contingencies Authority chairman Gavin St Pier said at the moment they were in dialogue with travel providers, but for now there is just the lifeline service to Southampton and flights to Alderney.

He added that it was premature to remove the two-week quarantine rules at this stage and he expected this would deter many people from travelling.

‘Although non-essential travel is permitted, it’s not terribly attractive with that requirement to self-isolate on return,’ he said.

Deputy St Pier said they were looking at the possibility of creating travel without self-isolation to places with low numbers of cases and strong border controls.

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One example could be Latvia, which had less than a dozen cases in the last four days and is in a Baltic bubble.

Germany has also seen a falling number of cases and last year nearly 3,000 journeys were made between Guernsey and Dusseldorf.

Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink said it was about looking at the prevalence of cases in places like this.

‘Having flight bridges is a very attractive option,’ she said.

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Early discussions are taking place to look at opening up travel between Bailiwick islands.

Health & Social Care president Deputy Heidi Soulsby said they were monitoring how other jurisdictions were checking passengers for infections, like temperature checks, but this would not guarantee that people did not have the infection.

The UK is introducing its own 14-day self-isolation for people travelling into the country from 8 June.

However jurisdictions within the Common Travel Area, like Guernsey, are exempt from this requirement.

Dr Brink said they were very interested in the UK quarantine and its improved tracing of the virus.

‘I think you’re going to see quite a profound effect on the community transmission within England over the next couple of months,’ she said.

The UK has different rules for different parts of the country and these are also different to Guernsey’s.

People are still being advised to stay home as much as possible in England, although they are allowed to exercise and spend time outside, do essential shopping or attend work.

However they cannot visit friends and families at their homes, visit attractions or gather in a group of more than two people, unless they are from the same household.

People are still being asked to avoid using public transport where possible, and face coverings should be worn in enclosed spaces.

Most hotels are still closed, while restaurants can offer deliveries or pick-up services.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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