Air bridge with virus-free Isle of Man is more likely than Jersey – Guernsey Press
Quarantine-free travel depends on other jurisdictions’ progress in controlling Covid-19.
Civil Contingencies Authority chairman Deputy Gavin St Pier said: ‘We have had discussions with the Isle of Man, given that they also have no cases and a very similar strategy to our own.
‘It’s probably fair to say that the Isle of Man is furthest down that track, but there are a number of others that would be of interest.’
Discussions are ongoing and announcements will be made in a timely fashion.
The Isle of Man’s borders have been closed since March and it has no active cases of the illness.
‘Quarantine-free travel would clearly benefit both visitor economies, and helps relatively small communities to test the concept of green lanes that may be useful in a later stage of this pandemic,’ Deputy St Pier said.
Pilots are being developed for effective and workable approaches to border restrictions.
Jersey was not mentioned as a possibility for air bridges. It has five active cases.
Air bridges could allow for a controlled phase six before a vaccine is available.
Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink said: ‘We are looking at what triggers we should use. The obvious one is the availability of a vaccine, that seems to be more optimistic than earlier.
‘At the moment we’re surrounded by jurisdictions all of which have ongoing viral activity.’
Work starts next week to see which low-risk scenarios would allow no border restrictions with the UK.
Contact tracers are now both trained and experienced, creating a robust system, and new testing kit has arrived.
‘Delivery of our platform extractor has ramped up the number of samples, we can extract up to 96 in 90 minutes,’ she said.
‘With that increased capacity we want to look at where it is best used. What we are thinking about is what we can do in regard to our border controls.’
Reducing self-isolation periods is being considered, since evidence shows roughly 80% of cases are detected by day seven.
At the height of the crisis roughly 2,000 people were in mandatory self-isolation, but this figure is now 497.
Feedback has shown that people struggle with mental health and wellbeing in the second week in isolation.
More than 160 antibody tests have been completed.
Known positive cases were tested first to ensure the tests worked.
Other than these trials, nobody has tested positive.
Various groups have been prioritised rather than testing the whole population because viral activity has been low.