The Civil Contingencies Authority has placed the island under lockdown 'with immediate effect'.
It is the second time Guernsey has faced the restrictions, following confirmation of four new positive COVID-19 cases where Public Health weren't sure how they contracted the virus.
The Director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink MBE, told reporters at a media briefing on Saturday lunchtime that contract tracing began within an hour of the cases being identified, and is continuing - to determine whether there is a link between the cases as well as whether these cases are as a result of wider community transmission.
Saturday's media briefing saw the return of social distancing in the Bailiwick
Schools, colleges and early years providers (pre-school, nurseries and childminders) will close - except for vulnerable students and children of essential workers. Further information will be released by Education later today.
People are also being told to stay at home unless they are seeking medical care, carrying out essential shopping for food or supplies, or for up to two-hours exercise outdoors - as long as it’s with other household members, or with one other person providing they are at least two metres away.
Anyone who can work from home is being advised to do so, but essential workers can still continue as normal.
An updated list of 'essential' jobs is due to be published this afternoon - but we're told it will be 'very similar to those from the initial lockdown last year'.
Restaurants and non-essential shops are being told to stay closed - including for deliveries or takeaways. That decision will be reviewed in the coming days.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache, Chairman of the Civil Contingencies Authority, says the message for the community is to stay at home:
"We have four new cases of COVID-19 that have been identified overnight and it is not clear yet if they are linked or how they contracted the virus. We must for the moment assume this is the result of community seeding.
"We are announcing these steps with immediate effect in the hope that we can get this quickly under control with a sharp and strict lockdown. Unlike before, this is not new to us. We have done this once already, we know as a community that together we can do this successfully and keep each other safe.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache
"Even in doing this for a second time, we know the rules are not perfect. This isn’t about perfection, it’s about speed. If we need to update our guidance in the days ahead, we will do so please bear with us. We have taken decisive action. We know a lockdown isn’t easy. Guidance to support services is also available on our website. Call your friends and family, use video links and stay in touch. We must remember the objective here is to prevent the virus spreading. We should remember that in every single thing we all do.
"We know there will be many questions. We are continuing to meet and make decisions. We expect these measures to be in place for at least two weeks but we constantly reviewing them.’
Dr Brink says the safety of islanders is the States' top priority:
"The reappearance of cases of COVID-19 via unexplained community transmission means that we have to assume that these new cases pose a significant risk. ‘A lockdown is the most effective and efficient way to prevent onward transmission of COVID-19.
Dr Nicola Brink MBE
"We know from other jurisdictions around the world that hard and strict measures introduced quickly generate the best results and that is our focus - to try and get this under control and us back to the normality we have all enjoyed as quickly as possible."
People who went to the Ship & Crown or Crow's Nest between 18-20 January are being asked to get in contact with Public Health by email to arrange a test.
Contact Tracing – Ship & Crown OR Crow's Nest If you were at the Ship & Crown OR the Crow’s Nest between 18th January –...Posted by The States of Guernsey on Saturday, January 23, 2021
Another live briefing will be held tomorrow (24/01/21) at midday and you can hear that broadcast live on Island FM.
You can find out more about the new restrictions on the States of Guernsey website.