Chief minister hopeful of tourism return in summer

TOURISM could return to Guernsey this summer, as the number of active cases of Covid-19 dropped to just six yesterday lunchtime.

Civil Contingencies Authority chairman Peter Ferbrache. (29306839)
Civil Contingencies Authority chairman Peter Ferbrache. (29306839)

It has been nearly a year since the introduction of rules that meant incoming travellers to the island had to undertake a period of self-isolation.

But as more people in the Bailiwick and the UK are vaccinated and case numbers drop, Civil Contingencies Authority chairman Peter Ferbrache said he believed there would be a tourist season this year.

The comments come the same week as Economic Development announced that no cruise ships would be allowed to visit the island this season.

‘We’re hopeful there will be tourism in the summer,’ Deputy Ferbrache said.

‘We’re addressing... a paper we will receive next week, which we will consider thoroughly next week at CCA and then the week after we will have an announcement.’

He added that he could understand why ED would cancel all arrivals so early, as cruise ships needed to plan months in advance.

There is currently financial support in place for tourist businesses until March 2022, if there is no meaningful resumption of visitor activity.

Public Health director Dr Nicola Brink yesterday confirmed there had been no new cases of Covid-19 for six days in the island. With three recoveries yesterday morning, there are now just six active cases.

But she warned islanders to remain vigilant and come forward if they had any symptoms.

There is currently one person in hospital.

Looking at the type of cases seen during the second wave, 380 of the 511 cases – 74% – were detected as contacts of known cases.

About a fifth of cases – 112 – were detected after the person sought medical attention. The rest of the cases were found in travellers or through workplace screening.

Analysis of the second wave also showed how the age of people catching the virus was different in first wave. In the first wave most of the cases were in people over 70.

‘The age was far younger in this wave,’ Dr Brink said, with the most cases detected in the male age 10 to 14 category.

More than 23,000 doses of vaccine have been given so far and a quarter of the population have had at least the first dose.

It is still unknown where the second outbreak originated.

Dr Brink said they had tried to track it.

‘I think it’s increasingly likely that we will never know,’ she said.

‘We are convinced this was an outbreak... from a single introduction source, but we will probably never know what that source is.’

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