Friday 05 June 2020
On Tuesday 2 June 2020, the Chief Minister of Guernsey Deputy Gavin St Pier met with the New Zealand Acting High Commissioner David Evans to share experiences from Guernsey and New Zealand of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and to discuss the similar issues now facing both jurisdictions as lockdown restrictions are eased. Due to the restrictions currently in place, the meeting took place via video conference.
Over the past few months jurisdictions across the world have developed their own responses to the immediate crisis, but both Guernsey and New Zealand have adopted similar public health strategies, including tight border control and a 'test, trace, isolate' model; and on exit, have applied similar concepts of 'bubbles' and controlled/uncontrolled environments in relation to social distancing. The meeting therefore provided an opportunity to discuss the similarities in the approaches that have been taken by both governments, but more importantly the issues that now need to be considered as part of the respective exit strategies, including ongoing testing regimes, considerations for safely opening up borders and identifying a commonly agreed definition of 'elimination.'
The call also provided an opportunity to discuss the ongoing UK-EU negotiations, as well as the UK's work to develop a network of Free Trade Agreements with the rest of the world, including New Zealand. This will continue to be a priority area of work for Guernsey as the negotiations progress.
Deputy St Pier, Chief Minister of Guernsey said:
"I was pleased to be able to speak to the New Zealand Acting High Commissioner today to discuss our governments' respective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been an exceptionally busy few months in Guernsey, and this looks set to continue as we develop and manage our economic recovery strategy. While we have been dealing with our response on-island, the global nature of the pandemic has illustrated how important it is to be able to share our learning and experiences with other jurisdictions who are facing the same difficult decisions as us, and I was pleased to have that opportunity today. I look forward to developing and strengthening our relationship with New Zealand over the coming months, as we progress further with our exit-strategy and also consider our future economic needs and trading relationships."