Islands must unite and fight to beat virus

AFTER walking a cliff edge for months, Guernsey finally lost its footing this weekend.

The mission now is to regain our balance quickly before we topple over.

By acting decisively, strongly and with great speed, the Civil Contingencies Authority has given the Bailiwick its best chance of a rapid recovery.

Lockdown 2021 is in some ways a bigger shock than 25 March last year. Then we had days of build-up with countries across Europe and then, the day before, the UK shutting up shop.

This time it has come out of the blue, and is all the more unnerving for that.

Any complacency about Guernsey’s serene progress through the pandemic was ripped away by Saturday’s early morning announcement that four cases had emerged and the link between them was not clear.

The suspicion has to be that this is the work of a new, more contagious, variant. The rapid rise in cases is very worrying.

Regardless, what matters now is that the island does what it does so well: unite around the common cause of eliminating the virus.

This is another test of the spirit of #GuernseyTogether and, based on the response over the weekend, there is every hope that the islands will prevail.

The Bailiwick has been fortunate not to have faced the months of restrictions endured by much of the western world. There is no lockdown fatigue here, just a determination to stamp this latest outbreak of the virus into the ground.

An instant adoption of social distancing, hand washing and household isolation must be fierce and maintained without exception or relaxation, for as long as it takes.

Bitter lessons learned elsewhere tell us that this time those measures include face coverings wherever there is a risk of transmission.

It is not comfortable and does not come naturally. Nor are masks a bulletproof vest again infection.

However, if the islands are to win this battle and get back to the normality that we have cherished and been lucky to enjoy for so long it is vital that islanders embrace all measures with absolute conviction.

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