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Coronavirus: Guernsey Arrivals Forced To Self-Isolate

Anyone who travels to Guernsey, no matter where in the world, will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days from this Thursday (19 March) because of coronavirus.

That's regardless of having symptoms or where they came from.

That's all travel by any means including private and chartered vessels, travel between Guernsey and Jersey but not travel within the Bailiwick of Guernsey (between Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm). 

The Strategic Co-ordinating group made the decision and recommended it to the Civil Contingencies Authority following a review of the latest evidence.

An exemption list for 'critical roles' is currently being drawn up for people who have to travel to keep the island running.

"As I said on Monday, we will not be afraid to take whatever steps we need to, to help protect the health and welfare of Islanders and our Island infrastructure.

"These new measures today, along with the advice that all non-essential travel should cease, will help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Everyone has a personal responsibility to take these new measures seriously and self-isolate if required. We will take further steps as and when needed." - Deputy Gavin St Pier, President of the Policy & Resources Committee and Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority.

Anyone in self-isolation who develops symptoms, no matter how mild, is urged to ring the Coronavirus hotline on 01481 756938 and 01481 756969.

"The decision to insist on self-isolation for anyone entering the Bailiwick for 14 days is a significant change and one which has the potential to impact a number of Islanders.

"All evidence shows us that if we can contain the virus and prevent community seeding we can lessen the burden on our health and care services.

"Self-isolation is difficult but the guidance must be adhered to. As well as not going to work, school/childcare, anyone in self-isolation must stay at home and not think that it is alright to just pop out to the shops, have friends round, or go for a walk. The Bailiwick community has been great so far in responding to this challenging situation. Please look out for your friends, family or neighbours who are in self- isolation and may need some practical help to get them through the 14 days." - Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care.

The current advice is to:

- Don't travel unless it's essential. Anyone who does travel (e.g. for medical care in the UK) will have to self-isolate on return to Guernsey. Only critical travellers will be exempt from self-isolating.

- People and businesses expecting visitors should ask them not to come unless they are deemed critical. Anyone who goes against the advice will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

- Students and parents are being encouraged to return to the island sooner rather than later, even if they have to self-isolate. Any students with symptoms prior to returning to Guernsey should contact their student health service or Public Health Services.

The Civil Contingencies Authority has also agreed to enforce emergency powers to make sure these restrictions are adhered to.

The Medical Officer of Health, her deputy and others will be able to force people who arrive to be tested and isolated.

The powers also allow law enforcement officers to initially detain people they suspect may have coronavirus, to stop it from spreading to others. 

Not complying with these measures will be deemed an offence.

"Many Islanders have readily followed the guidance provided by Public Health and self-isolated where appropriate, in line with the official advice. But there are exceptions and if we really want to slow the spread of coronavirus, we must introduce these powers. We will be ready to use these powers to enforce self- isolation if required. This will help ensure everyone entering the Bailiwick self- isolates, and that we identify anyone who may have the virus already. I hope Islanders will welcome these measures as firm steps to protect their health and especially the health of the most vulnerable in our community."

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