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Island is keen to talk to jurisdictions with low rates of virus infection

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CHAIRMAN of the Civil Contingencies Authority Gavin St Pier said no progress has been made in creating air bridges to countries with low rates of Covid-19.

As part of the island’s recovery strategy following the Covid-19 pandemic, a report called ‘Revive and Thrive’ will look, among other things, at air and sea links and decide what Aurigny’s role will play in Guernsey’s future.

Deputy St Pier said there had been no substantive progress in creating travel corridors or air bridges. Such bridges might allow travel between Guernsey and low-infection countries without the need to quarantine.

‘But we are seeking engagement with a number of jurisdictions that have low prevalence [of the virus] so we will see where that develops.’

The recovery strategy talks about using Aurigny as an enabler to help the island’s economy recover the money lost this year in 2021. Deputy St Pier said in his opinion it would be great, particularly in the short term, to allow Aurigny to fly to destinations directly that it has not done previously.

‘For the community that has been in this state of lockdown to have the opportunity to go somewhere that it is considered safe to do so then, certainly in the short term, it would be fantastic.

‘While it is a little premature for now, if we could achieve it it would undoubtedly be welcomed.’

Health & Social Care president Heidi Soulsby said that now it has been established that the island will move to phase five a week from tomorrow, the main focus will shift to phase six and seeing how the reopening of the borders will be achieved in a safe way.

Similarly to the exit framework, a strategy will need to be designed in terms of easing restrictions.

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Head of Law Enforcement Ruari Hardy. (28359305)

In the press briefing, it was said that an increasing number of people are coming into the island now that the non-essential travel ban has been lifted.

Head of Law Enforcement Ruari Hardy made it clear that Guernsey Border Agency officials outline the 14-day mandatory self-isolation requirement to travellers and islanders were again reminded that anyone travelling on any Aurigny flight to any destination has to wear a face mask.

‘Some people do use taxis to get to their residences and there are clear guidelines [on gov.gg] for passengers and taxi drivers about minimising any spread of the virus and cleaning the vehicle after each journey,’ Mr Hardy said.

‘Clearly that has worked well as there is no evidence of community seeding.’

Officers have followed up with travellers to ensure they are complying with the isolation and there are currently 421 people within the Bailiwick who are subject to self-isolation and 290 calls and contacts have been made to check up on them, as well as 37 residential visits over the past week. There was at least one investigation into an allegation that someone had breached the rules, but it was found the person had not.

Zoe Fitch

By Zoe Fitch
News reporter

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