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One or two days’ quarantine for negative ‘safe’ arrivals

News | Published:

TRAVELLERS arriving in Guernsey from countries classed as ‘safe’ will have to quarantine for only one or two days until they receive a negative test result when the next phase of the island’s exit strategy from lockdown starts.

(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28621764)

The exit strategy document has been updated and includes details of phase 5c, which will have testing on arrival at the airport and harbour.

A crucial piece of information, which is unknown at this stage, is what date phase 5c will start as much depends on the global situation.

However, when it does come into effect, passengers arriving from countries in the group B category, which currently includes the UK and Jersey, will have a test on arrival and, as soon as they receive a negative result, they can move out of quarantine and into the stage called ‘passive surveillance’.

The turnaround time for people to get their test result is anticipated to be between 24 and 48 hours.

Those group B travellers will also have a second test on day seven.

Passengers coming from group A countries, which currently include France, will be offered a test on arrival, but whatever the result they will still have to self-isolate for two weeks.

The latest edition of the exit strategy was approved unanimously by States members, but concerns were expressed that the document was written solely from a health perspective, and the business side had been ignored.

Deputy Charles Parkinson, the president of Economic Development, gave a sobering analysis of the impact on business.

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‘The hotel sector in Guernsey is absolutely on its knees. It’s a common expression that it’s experiencing three winters in a row. Many hotels will shut and will not reopen until the beginning of the 2021 season.

‘I’ve spoken to some of the hotel owners and representatives of the Guernsey Hoteliers Association and they are desperate people and there is a real possibility that some of these businesses will not reopen at all.’

Deputy Parkinson highlighted the approach taken in Jersey, where there have been over 100,000 tests carried out, and there were currently 15 active cases, with no one in hospital and no community seeding.

He said that St Helier was busy, the hotels were full, and the Jersey economy was thriving.

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The sister island was also mentioned by Deputy John Gollop, who thought that Guernsey had taken the wisest route out of lockdown, but that the data coming out of Jersey should not be ignored.

One of the recurring themes during the debate, was a desire that the whole Assembly should be involved in deciding the progression through the final stages of the exit strategy, rather than just the four members of the Civil Contingencies Authority.

Deputy Mark Dorey voiced the idea first, and many subsequent speakers agreed with him.

The CCA has acknowledged that the borders cannot remain virtually closed indefinitely, but CCA member Deputy Heidi Soulsby reminded her colleagues that the pandemic was not over yet.

Countries which were hailed as models for tackling Covid-19, had seen a revival in cases.

‘Just look beyond our shores and it’s growing at pace around the world, it’s not shrinking and i think before we get too frustrated we’ve got to be very careful because it’s not over yet.’

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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