CCA under pressure over Covid travel test changes

PRESSURE was building on the Civil Contingencies Authority over the weekend as islanders reacted to its move to require double-vaccinated islanders to take a Covid test in the UK before they return to the island.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache at Friday's Covid-19 Press Conference. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29798592)
Deputy Peter Ferbrache at Friday's Covid-19 Press Conference. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29798592)

The CCA had said on Friday it would announce more details by tomorrow on the new rules for anyone entering the island, and reiterated similar advice yesterday afternoon.

But that advice cannot come quickly enough for concerned islanders, many with imminent travel plans, who took to social media to express their worries about how the new system might work, including concerns about having to self-isolate in the UK if they test positive before returning to Guernsey.

From Thursday, the CCA’s requirement for all ‘blue channel’ travellers heading into the Bailiwick will see them needing to take a supervised pre-travel test before departure – reversing the policy in operation since 1 July, where there has been no testing or isolation for double-vaccinated arrivals.

There are concerns about the cost of that and particularly that any islander testing positive would not be allowed to return.

CCA adviser Heidi Soulsby and member Lindsay de Sausmarez took to social channels to try to ease concerns but rarely seemed to satisfy those asking questions.

‘We had to choose between communicating the upcoming change early to give people more warning ASAP, or holding back to give people all the details but less notice. Both approaches have their downsides,’ said Deputy de Sausmarez on Twitter.

‘We’re keenly aware of these impacts, but please remember we haven’t put this in place for fun – we’re still in the grip of a pandemic and we have to take lots of factors into account.’

Known Covid cases in the island stood at 62 yesterday. There were 10 new cases were identified over the weekend, nine travel-related or contacts of known positive cases, and one symptomatic community case.

Yesterday the CCA issued an update statement, assuring islanders that it was listening.

‘The decision to bring in this measure was made with the intention of mitigating the risk to our community, as the prevalence of Covid-19 cases remains so high among neighbouring jurisdictions,’ it said.

People travelling imminently were invited to contact Public Health with their questions.

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