Our approach is crucial to living with Covid

THE Civil Contingencies Authority has had to make many more difficult decisions in the past 16 months than the ones it has made in the past week.

But few, if any of them, have felt as difficult as the past few days must have done. As members have previously said – lockdowns are easy.

Although this week’s U-turn away from last Friday’s advice of making islanders have a pre-travel test when returning to the island from the Common Travel Area was finally completed yesterday, we still lack some important details and clarification now due later today.

Firstly though, praise to the CCA. It realised that it had got the decision wrong on enforcing pre-travel tests for islanders wanting to return home. It changed that instruction. It apologised for the error.

‘The CCA often has very difficult decisions to make where we try to balance the needs, desires and safety of our whole community. We are by no means perfect and, as has happened on occasion throughout the last 18 months while trying to manage this pandemic, we won’t get every decision right. Where we get things wrong or change direction we will say so and hold our hands up,’ said CCA chairman Peter Ferbrache yesterday.

Arguably few saw the travel testing issue as a shambles at 1pm on Friday. The media took the advice at face value and the questions and doubts didn’t start rolling in until later that afternoon.

Concerns and understanding grew and so did the criticism. Fairly so. It took it a while, but credit to the CCA for changing the policy as quickly as it did.

It is now more important than ever for the CCA to work closely with islanders to get us through these times while attempting to embrace normality.

Given the way islanders have generally responded to Covid and the CCA’s decisions, the committee can expect continued support from a majority. But it is now more important than ever that it takes islanders on the journey too. Confidence has been damaged, some respect lost.

But living with Covid now is not solely about the advice of the CCA. If we want to normalise life, rights and responsibilities come into play. We must all do our bit to live responsibly with Covid as a community.

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