London among areas hit with 14-day quarantine
TRAVELLERS from Covid-19 hotspot areas of England will have to quarantine on arrival in Guernsey for 14 days from Tuesday.
At this stage, London is one of the areas regarded as ‘unsafe’ and falls under the tougher restrictions, although it has been stressed that the picture is being assessed daily.
Currently, there are eight regions which have been marked as unsafe or red. They include London, the North-East, the North-West, the Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber.
Southampton Airport is in a ‘safer’ region, as is Gatwick Airport, which means those inbound travellers will have to quarantine for only seven days, as long as they have not spent time in a red region.
The Civil Contingencies Authority has rubber-stamped the new ‘regional classifications’ approach to border controls in response to the sudden jump in Covid-19 cases in England after flagging up concerns earlier this week.
Underpinning Guernsey’s border restrictions are still the group A, B, and C country classifications; but for the UK it is more granular so that it can be split into different groups.
The alternative was a blanket designation of 14 days quarantine for the whole of England, but it was felt that this would be too restrictive and disproportionate.
Deputy Gavin St Pier, chairman of the CCA, said there could be some issues while the new system beds in next week.
‘It is possible there will be initial teething problems following the introduction of regional variations for England.
‘We will be heavily reliant on travellers being honest with regard to their recent travel history, although there will, of course, be penalties for false declarations.
‘The situation will be monitored closely following the initial implementation and we ask for patience and understanding as passengers and staff adapt to the new requirements.’
The step backwards from opening up Guernsey’s borders was taken because of the growing degree of alarm over the rapid rise of infections in England which could soon feed through to NHS hospital admissions.
Dr Nicola Brink, the director of Public Health, has been analysing the new trend and felt it was necessary to respond.
While the new measures will not necessarily provide confidence for travel plans in what is a rapidly changing landscape, Dr Brink said the situation would be constantly reviewed.
‘Public Health Services monitor the prevalence data on a daily basis.
‘It is likely that regions in England will move between group A and group B classifications over the next few weeks.
‘It is important, therefore, that anyone who is considering travelling to the Bailiwick understands that circumstances can change at very short notice and they may need to self-isolate for longer than they might have originally anticipated or, in the event that they test positive for Covid-19 or are identified as a close contact of a positive case, that they may need to stay in mandatory quarantine in the Bailiwick for longer than their planned period of travel.’
The rules on transiting through different countries and regions have been set out, and they are complex.
Transit through a group A area will not count as spending time there, including travelling on public transport, as long as the bus or train does not stop there.
Motorists will be able to fill up with petrol and go to the toilet while in transit, without worrying that their traveller status has changed.
To counter the possibility of delays at the airport and harbour next week, Border Agency staff will issue a mandatory 14 day self-isolation notice to those travellers with an unclear and complicated travel history.
Over the next day or days, officials will follow up with those travellers to review their information and if appropriate the self-isolation will drop to seven days.