States reveals more of what Lions coach did

THE people who led the island’s pandemic response ate meals with the British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland when he visited the island last weekend and was allowed the skip the quarantine requirements.

Warren Gatland . (29412918)
Warren Gatland . (29412918)

Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink, Chief Minister Peter Ferbrache, Paul Whitfield, the States chief executive, guests and local sport representatives all met Mr Gatland.

In a statement, the States has revealed further details about the trip to the island, when Mr Gatland was scoping out the rugby and hotel facilities which could be used as a pre-tour camp before the team goes to South Africa this summer.

‘While room service was the primary mechanism for meals during his stay, during one meeting at the club [at Footes Lane] a selection of sandwiches were served as Mr Gatland met a small number of people in a large room, socially distanced with hand sanitiser available.

‘This included Deputy Ferbrache, the States chief executive, and the director of Public Health to explain Guernsey’s response to Covid-19, our current circumstances, potential public health measures if the Lions decided to visit and to discuss the facilities.

‘A further single meal was allowed to take place in a private dining room at the hotel where Mr Gatland was staying.

‘This was for a small number of guests, including local sport representatives and the States chief executive, to further discuss logistics of how a potential visit could work.

‘Again, this occurred only after Mr Gatland had received a negative test result that day. As such there was no public health risk.’

Advice had been sought from Dr Brink, before Mr Gatland’s trip, on whether it would be possible to grant safely an exemption to quarantine.

Given the scale of the Lions operation and their needs, reviewing the facilities remotely had been ruled out.

Dr Brink’s advice was that the trip could take place safely.

A range of measures were put in place, including daily testing and a limit on activities to just a few defined locations.

Decisions on whether to grant an exemption to self-isolation requirements are made at senior officer level, and the grounds can be either compassionate, medical, critical work, or other exceptional circumstances.

Mr Gatland’s trip has received a polarised reaction from the community, but a poll run on the Guernsey Press website and Twitter yesterday showed strong support for the Lions to visit.

More than 400 people took part, and around three-quarters were in favour of the island hosting a pre-tour training camp.

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