Now, with the emergence of a mutant strain of the virus that causes Covid-19, officials are enforcing ‘exit tests’ on the 13th day of self-isolation before people who have travelled head back out into the community.
The Civil Contingencies Authority has reviewed the latest evidence relating to the new variant, which suggests it is likely to be more transmissible and poses an increased risk to the community.
Therefore, the CCA has agreed new measures to protect the Bailiwick.
Effective immediately, those arriving from Category 4 regions and countries, which includes England, will be required to self-isolate until they receive a negative result from a day 13 test.
Previously, the day 13 test was optional but encouraged, with a 66% uptake, but Dr Nicola Brink thinks this will increase now that the alternative is 21 days in self-isolation.
When asked how people could be sure that someone was not infectious after 21 days if they have not had a test, she said: ‘The extra seven days will provide us with a significant risk reduction to prevent [them still being infectious].
‘The chance of someone coming out [of isolation] 21 days later and still being significantly infectious is very low.’
She explained how, of the last 20 travel-associated cases, three were picked up on the day 13 test, all of which were asymptomatic.
The other 17 tested positive on arrival or developed symptoms during self-isolation and were tested again.
Although non-pharmaceutical interventions such as hand-washing, staying home if you are unwell and maintaining good respiratory practices are the best way to reduce the risk of transmission, Dr Brink said the day 13 test provided another level of protection to stop any escape of the virus into the community.
‘Those who have chosen to form an isolation bubble or self-isolate as a household will have to take the day 13 test as well, or continue to self-isolate for 21 days,’ she said.
‘Only when you have a negative result can you go into the community because this new variant is very transmissible so we are doing everything we can to keep ourselves safe.’