Only fully-vaccinated passengers from Common Travel Area will enjoy restriction-free travel into Guernsey from 1 July.
Guernsey's Civil Contingencies Authority has revised its July 1st travel rules because of rising rates of Delta variant of Covid-19 in the UK.
The CCA is postponing the Traffic Light travel system but is introducing a new Blue travel category.
It's planned ‘Green, Amber, Red’ system aligned to the UK’s travel rules will not be introduced just yet.
Instead, the current Categories 1 – 4 for countries and regions will remain, based on 14-days’ prevalence data over 7 consecutive days.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache says the CCA has agreed that a new Blue travel category will commence on 1 July for fully-vaccinated people who have their second dose at least two weeks before arriving here.
They will be able to arrive in the Bailiwick from the UK or other parts of the Common Travel Area without the need to test or self-isolate.
"From the 1 July - and this will be kept under periodic review, we'll be reviewing it every two weeks - people who come from or are travelling to the common travel area, which is: Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Jersey and the Isle of Mann, if they've had both their vaccinations and 14 days thereafter has elapsed, they'll be able to travel into and out of the common area without restrictions."
Data focusing specifically on the Delta variant shows that it is more transmissible than other variants, and the efficacy of a single dose of a vaccine is reduced significantly (approx 17%). The reduction in efficacy of the vaccine after both doses is however less severe (approx 8%).
Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink says fresh data is continuing to emerge:
"I went back and looked at some of the UK data - and this is the most recent UK data. So, if you look at the data from 4 to 10 June - that's yesterday - if you looked at that seven day period, the Covid cases were up by 62% when you compared it to the previous seven days. So, that's the number of cases.
"We're looking at the number of cases but, what is the impact of those cases? Going back to the hospitalisations, the latest data from the UK was the 31 May to 6 June and you're looking at about a 7.1% increase in hospitalisations compared to the previous seven days. Over the period of a week in June, you're looking at a 1.9% increase in death rates.
"Now, what we don't know is what's going to happen over the next 2 to 3 weeks. Are these going to plateau off or are these going to continue to increase? So, we essentially are in a situation where we have a lot of unknowns at the moment and that's why we need to pause and look at the best way going forward."
The CCA says these findings are of concern and it has agreed it is right to make changes to the plans for travel from July 1st and to continue to review the situation every two weeks.
People travelling from the UK or other parts of the Common Travel Area who are not yet fully-vaccinated will continue to be subject to the category requirements – as now - based on the rate of prevalence in the country or region they are travelling from.
Over half (54%) of the Bailiwick’s adult population are fully vaccinated. Each week thousands more doses are administered and thousands more Islanders become fully-vaccinated.
It is expected that all adults in the Bailiwick who choose to have the vaccine will be fully-vaccinated by 17th August.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache says “We’ve said in recent months, as we have for the past year, that this is still a fast-changing situation and this pandemic will continue to present us with unexpected challenges therefore we could not make any guarantees about the 1st July.
'But of course, we had hoped we would be able to move ahead with the plans as we had set them out and it is disappointing to see the data from across other parts of the British Isles. Few places are in our fortunate position without active cases and without needing NPIs such as social distancing, face-coverings and limits on gathering sizes.
'I am sorry for those who were looking forward to the removal of travel restrictions, who will now have to wait a few more weeks. But I am glad that for those already fully vaccinated we can allow unrestricted travel to the UK, for many I hope it means their plans to see family and friends they’ve been separated from can go ahead.
'We’re very aware this decision may feel unfair for those who’ve not yet had the chance to be fully vaccinated. But we’ve made this decision, based on evidence, with the aim of allowing as much unrestricted travel as possible while ensuring we maintain reasonable measures to prevent people becoming seriously ill and requiring hospitalisation, avoid the need to re-introduce NPIs and avoid a third lockdown.'