Equipment to arrive next week to ramp up testing

FINAL pieces of equipment that will allow a significant ramping up in Covid-19 testing should be on-island next week.

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The confirmation comes as the UK authorities warn that it has turned a corner for the worse – there could be 50,000 cases a day there by mid-October and to prepare for six months of restrictions.

The rising case numbers in the UK led Guernsey’s Public Health to warn travellers to strictly follow self-isolation guidelines to avoid putting the community at unnecessary risk.

There are now three active cases in Guernsey.

‘It is clear from the UK’s press briefing today that there is a very real risk of a significant rise in case numbers there, and therefore Guernsey must continue to be vigilant,’ a States spokesperson said.

‘The coming weeks will be crucial in how effectively the current trend can be mitigated. We will continue to monitor the data coming from the UK closely to inform any further decisions around the Bailiwick’s response to the pandemic, including those relating to travel.’

There are several pieces of equipment which together will allow a significant increase in Guernsey’s on-island testing capability, which is essential to allow a move into phase 5c at the point the CCA decides it is right to do so.

‘Some of these have arrived and others are due very shortly.

‘The robotics equipment which is part of the “extraction” process has arrived and is currently being commissioned. The robotics equipment which prepares the extracted samples in preparation for what is called “amplification” is due to arrive early next week and will also need commissioning. The molecular amplification machines have also arrived but one was found to have a fault and has been returned, however this is due to come back to Guernsey in the next week.’

The States said that the laboratory is comfortably meeting the present demand for Covid testing with the vast majority of results being released on the same day that the sample arrives.

The new testing equipment was ordered in July but its arrival delayed.

It will increase local testing capacity to more than 2,000 a day.

Phase 5c will see travellers at the airport and harbour taking self-swabbing tests, and depending on the restrictions applying to where they have arrived from, a negative result could release them from quarantine requirements.

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