Guernsey, New Zealand talk pandemic strategies

IT was a tale of two jurisdictions when Guernsey’s chief minister met New Zealand’s acting high commissioner to share their experiences and response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

(Picture by Adrian Miller, 28341960)
(Picture by Adrian Miller, 28341960)

Gavin St Pier met acting high commissioner David Evans on Tuesday via video conference where they spoke about the similar issues now facing both jurisdictions as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Guernsey and New Zealand have adopted similar public health strategies, including tight border control and a test, trace, isolate model and on exit, have applied similar concepts of bubbles and controlled and uncontrolled environments in relation to social distancing.

The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the similarities in the approaches that have been taken by both governments, in addition to the issues that now need to be considered as part of their respective exit strategies, including ongoing testing regimes, considerations for opening up borders safely and identifying a commonly agreed definition of ‘elimination’.

Deputy St Pier said it had been an exceptionally busy few months in Guernsey that looked set to continue as the island’s economic recovery strategy is developed and managed.

‘I was pleased to be able to speak to the New Zealand acting high commissioner to discuss our governments’ respective responses to the Covid-19 pandemic,’ he said.

‘While we have been dealing with our response on-island, the global nature of the pandemic has illustrated how important it is to be able to share our learning and experiences with other jurisdictions who are facing the same difficult decisions as us, and I was pleased to have that opportunity.

‘I look forward to developing and strengthening our relationship with New Zealand over the coming months, as we progress further with our exit strategy and also consider our future economic needs and trading relationships.’

The call also provided an opportunity to discuss the ongoing UK-EU negotiations, as well as the UK’s work to develop free trade agreements with the rest of the world, including New Zealand.

This will continue to be a priority area of work for Guernsey as the negotiations progress.

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