More details released on Phase 5b lockdown exit
GUERNSEY will welcome in Phase 5b of its exit from lockdown on Monday – amid the possibility of a future move to more regional categories in terms of Covid-19 travel restrictions.
In guidance released by the States today, details have been given on what passengers need to know ahead of their arrival in the Bailiwick, such as what information they will need to provide and where they can find the latest list of countries, designated Group B or Group C, with Group A being all those not found in either group.
It also reveals that only travellers arriving from a Group B country are eligible for testing on day seven of their self-isolation and only then will they be able to leave their self-isolation if that test is negative, while observing the rules of ‘passive follow-up’, which includes a restriction on travel to Alderney, until 14 days after arrival.
Travellers who have been in a Group A country in the preceding seven days will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Group C countries are those with which Guernsey has an air bridge – the Isle of Man is currently the only such jurisdiction.
Individual countries’ categorisation is to be reviewed daily and the list regularly updated, therefore the States has advised anyone travelling to be aware it is entirely possible that countries may be re-categorised at short notice.
Public Health director Dr Nicola Brink said there were a number of factors in play for categorising each country.
‘The criteria focuses primarily on the prevalence of Covid-19 in a country and therefore the potential risk of travel or tourism-related spread to our islands,’ she said.
‘The criteria also takes into account other factors, such as how widely a country is testing its population, which could impact on the data’s reliability. Initially, we are keeping things simple and determining the categories country by country.
‘However, we will be looking at if we can implement regional classifications of a country in the future. We’re continuing to review whether this is effective and workable and we may move to regional categories in some cases in the coming weeks.’
Passengers coming into the island by air or water will be provided with a form to complete before they arrive, asking which countries they have visited in the seven days before travelling to Guernsey. This is presented along with ID to a Guernsey Border Agency representative.
In most cases the agency will be able to confirm whether the individual is eligible for the option of testing on day seven of their self-isolation, arriving for their appointment by personal transport or by taxi, or if they must self-isolate for a full 14 days.
If the travel history is unclear or further information is required, they will be informed that they need to self-isolate for 14 days. Those who can be tested on day seven will be contacted directly.
This may mean it will take more time to get through arrivals.
Travellers will be contacted between 24 and 48 hours after their test to be informed of the results. If negative, they may leave their self-isolation but must observe the ‘passive follow-up’, while if positive they must remain in self-isolation until Public Health Services provides further guidance.
Guernsey Border Agency surveyor Rebecca Falla said the new approach was not the same as the pilot for testing on day seven last month, because of the added complexity of treating countries as Group A or B and it was entirely possible it would not be foolproof at first.
‘Combining those two measures means we are doing more to mitigate the risks against new cases coming into the Bailiwick, but it also makes the process more complicated,’ she said.
- Group A includes all countries not listed in Group B or C.
- Group B currently includes the United Kingdom, Jersey and France – although the latter is on the watch list. Group C currently covers the Isle of Man only.
- The new information and guidance can be found on https://covid19.gov.gg/guidance/travel.