Testing on arrival to start in Guernsey alongside new travel categories

The existing ABC categories will be replaced with categories 1, 2, 3 and 4. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Testing for people arriving in Guernsey will start on Monday 26 October.

The announcement comes alongside new travel categories for the island.

Different areas will now be split into four categories rather than the current three.

People arriving from places with less than 30 cases per 100,000 people will be allowed out of isolation after their first negative test providing they avoid indoor places like pubs, restaurants and cafes.

The existing ABC categories will be replaced with categories 1, 2, 3 and 4.

  • Category 1 will be for countries and regions where there is no requirement for any travel restrictions (no testing, no isolation). Currently only the Isle of Man is in this category.

  • Category 2 will be for arrivals coming from countries with low numbers of Covid-19 cases (between 0 and 30 cases per 100,000 of population). They will have to take a test on arrival, they would only be required to self- isolate until they receive an initial negative result. Once the negative result is confirmed they will then come under rules for ‘enhanced passive follow-up’ which are legally enforceable rules.

Currently there are no jurisdictions with direct links to Guernsey that would meet the criteria for Category 2.

  • Category 3 and 4 will be for higher risk countries (similar to current Group B and A countries). These people will be tested on arrival and will be required to self-isolate for seven or 14 days respectively.

The existing ABC categories will be replaced with categories 1, 2, 3 and 4. Credit: States of Guernsey

The Bailiwick of Guernsey is currently in 'phase 5b' where there are no restrictions to local life, including no social distancing, no limits on the size of group gatherings and no requirements for people to wear facemasks.

Guernsey's government says it expects to officially move into 'phase 5c' on Monday 26 October.

Guernsey's Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority says there is "no doubt" that the risk to the community is increasing due to the rising number of cases in the UK, France and Jersey.

There is no way to be completely risk-free, but certainly now is not the time to lower our defences. The revisions to phase 5c maintain similar restrictions for arrivals as are in place now, and add testing on arrival as yet a further measure to our contact tracing capability, which is key to ensuring cases do not spread within our community.

Deputy-Elect Gavin St Pier, Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority

Deputy-Elect St Pier says the government wants the model to be "sustainable" and therefore introduced a "sensible" way for allowing less restrictive travel from low-risk destinations.

Then when neighbouring countries have lower case numbers the system will be in place to cope with travellers.

If and when cases begin to come down to much lower levels, knowing that none of our neighbours fall into that category right now, but will do at some stage. Reducing those restrictions for travel very much remains our intention but only when it is safe to do so.

Deputy-Elect Gavin St Pier, Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority
  • What are ‘enhanced passive follow-up’ rules?

Enhanced passive follow-up means the person cannot go to indoor venues such as restaurants (including those offering al fresco dining), clubs, cafes, pubs, gyms, swimming pools, theatres or cinemas.

Shopping

They can only go to indoor shops for the purpose of buying essentials such as food or toiletries.

Gatherings

They must not attend any gathering of more than 10 people. If they attend any gatherings of fewer than 10 people, it should be in a room exclusively used by that group with controlled toilet facilities and a record should be kept of those attending for 14 days.

Public Transport

They may not use public transport, unless it is a taxi with the appropriate mitigation in place to protect the driver.

Work

Those working in public facing roles (i.e. retail assistants, receptionists, teachers etc) cannot return to work while under enhanced passive follow-up. Other workers should inform their employer to ensure they carry out a risk assessment and put in place any necessary measures.

School

Children in enhanced passive follow-up must not go to school.

Social distancing and hygiene measures

Anyone in enhanced passive follow-up is strongly advised to wear a facemask and practice social distancing when they are outside their home, including at work. They should also always observe good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.