Pre-travel test needed for UK arrivals from Thursday

VACCINATED UK arrivals will have to take a supervised pre-travel test from Thursday, as Guernsey reacts to rising case numbers in the UK.

 (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29795558)
(Picture by Peter Frankland, 29795558)

Since 1 July adults vaccinated in the Common Travel Area, who are coming from the UK, Isle of Man or Ireland, have been freely able to enter the island without testing or quarantine. They are known as blue channel travellers.

But Civil Contingencies Authority chairman Peter Ferbrache said that would change next week.

From Thursday all blue traveller arrivals must have a pre-travel supervised lateral flow or PCR test.

‘The pre-travel testing requirement does have some benefit as a risk mitigation,’ Deputy Ferbrache said.

‘But we also have to be realistic. We are not going to stop all the cases. People will get in. There will be cases of Covid.’

But he hoped the latest move would reassure the community.

Full details of the new requirements will be published by Tuesday.

Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink said careful thought had been given about which pre-travel testing to use and decided to allow lateral flow tests, as well as PCRs, to make the process cheaper and easier to access.

Deputy Ferbrache said they chose to make tests supervised to make sure it was accurate.

‘I’m sure that people won’t intend to mislead, but if it’s been verified, then we know that its a bona fide test,’ he said.

It is estimated that tests cost about £30 to £40.

Dr Brink said they had wanted to make sure tests were affordable. They will need to be carried out up to 48 hours before travel and it is currently unclear what this could mean for weekend or day trips.

If a person tests positive before travel, they will have to comply with that jurisdiction's rules. That means islanders testing positive in the UK would have to self-isolate there.

Deputy Ferbrache was asked why the testing was not brought in from 1 July.

‘This is a matter of judgment,’ he said.

‘This is having regard to what’s happening in other jurisdictions, particularly the UK.’

England currently has about 850 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days, while Jersey is now at more than 1,800 cases per 100,000 people.

Deputy Ferbrache confirmed that plans to review travel rules to relax them further was now indefinitely on hold.

There are currently nearly 60 active cases in the Bailiwick, but no-one in hospital. Of these, nearly 30 are in Alderney.

More than 100 people are in self-isolation.

Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink confirmed that nine students and one teacher at Notre Dame School had now tested positive in the latest community seeding outbreak.

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