The Director of Public Health is advising all Guernsey residents to consider avoiding all non-essential travel to and from the Bailiwick. This follows the decision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a COVID-19 Pandemic.
Dr Nicola Brink yesterday informed the States of Guernsey Strategic Coordinating Group that, following analysis of the numbers of confirmed cases worldwide and the evidence of probable community spread, people should be advised not to travel to or from the Bailiwick for non-essential reasons.
Dr Brink said:
'I am cognisant of the impact that this decision will have on the Bailiwick in terms of both business and personal travel arrangements.
These decisions recognise that for most people coronavirus will be a mild illness, but it can cause severe symptoms in older people or people with health conditions, and has the potential to increase the demands on our public services, especially our Health and Care services, particularly if large numbers of people became ill at once.'
While this does not mean there are any new restrictions imposed on travel, it is now the Director of Public Health's clear advice that Islanders and visitors should avoid travelling into and out of the Bailiwick for non-essential reasons with immediate effect.
The Director of Public Health is also advising:
- Businesses need to be ready to change their working practices and implement, for example, home working.
- Businesses or individuals who are expecting visitors to the Islands in the near future is asked to remind them of the measures the Bailiwick has in place to manage the coronavirus and to ask them not to travel if they are unwell with a fever, cough or shortness of breath.
- Islanders who are over 80 years of age, or over 65 with underlying health conditions, are asked to consider carefully any travel plans. The Director of Public Health is advising that islanders falling into this category do not travel on cruise ships or take long-distance flights.
The travel advice that was updated earlier this week regarding Group A and B category countries also remains in place:
Group A: Self -Isolation for all returning travellers irrespective of whether they have symptoms or not:
PHS are recommending that any individual should self-isolate, irrespective of symptoms if they have returned from the following areas in the last 14 days:
- Mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau)
- South Korea
- Specific lockdown areas designated by the government of Italy.
- The whole of Italy - (returning since 10 March 2020)
- Costa Adeje Palace Hotel - Tenerife
If you experience symptoms (fever, cough or shortness of breath, no matter how mild) and have returned from the above countries in the last 14 days, then contact the coronavirus helpline on 01481 756938 and 01481 756969, or, if you are feeling very unwell, phone 999 telling the operator of your symptoms and travel history.
Group B: Travellers from other specified countries who have symptoms, even if these are mild:
PHS have updated the guidance as of the 6 March 2020, taking into account the evolving situation globally.
PHS has issued this additional advice for returning travellers from the following countries:
- Hong Kong
- Tenerife (returning since 17 February 2020)
- Germany (returning since 2 March 2020)
- Mainland Spain (returning since 2 March 2020)
- USA (returning since 10 March 2020)
- Switzerland (returning since 10 March 2020)
- Netherlands (returning since 10 March 2020)