Lockdown with immediate effect
The Civil Contingencies Authority this morning decided the island will enter lockdown with immediate effect.
This decision follows confirmation of four new positive cases of COVID-19 where it is not immediately clear how they contracted the virus, as none are directly from travel or the contacts of known cases or travellers. Contract tracing is continuing to determine whether there is a link between the cases and whether these cases are linked or this is as a result of wider community seeding.
The clear message for the community is STAY AT HOME. A sharp and strict lockdown offers us the best chance of getting back to normality as quickly as possible.
Schools, colleges and early years providers (pre-school, nurseries and childminders) will close except for vulnerable students and children of essential workers. Further information will be released by Education later today.
People should stay at home unless they are seeking medical care, carrying out essential shopping for food or supplies or for up to two-hours exercise outdoors, with other members of their households unless they live alone in which case they can exercise with one member of another household while socially distanced.
If you can work from home, then work from home.
Those who cannot work from home can only go to work if they are essential workers. We are publishing lists of those today but they will be very similar to those from our initial lockdown last year.
Restaurants and non-essential retail are not being treated as essential and should NOT open, even for deliveries or takeaways but we will review that in the coming days.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache, Chairman of the Civil Contingencies Authority, said:
‘We have four new cases of COVID-19 that have been identified overnight and it is not clear yet if they are linked or how they contracted the virus. We must for the moment assume this is the result of community seeding.
‘We are announcing these steps with immediate effect in the hope that we can get this quickly under control with a sharp and strict lockdown. Unlike before, this is not new to us. We have done this once already, we know as a community that together we can do this successfully and keep each other safe.
‘Even in doing this for a second time, we know the rules are not perfect. This isn’t about perfection, it’s about speed. If we need to update our guidance in the days ahead, we will do so please bear with us. We have taken decisive action. We know a lockdown isn’t easy. Guidance to support services is also available on our website. Call your friends and family, use video links and stay in touch. We must remember the objective here is to prevent the virus spreading. We should remember that in every single thing we all do.
‘We know there will be many questions. We are continuing to meet and make decisions. We expect these measures to be in place for at least two weeks but we constantly reviewing them.’
Dr Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health, said:
‘The safety of our community has always been our priority. The reappearance of cases of COVID-19 via unexplained community transmission means that we have to assume that these new cases pose a significant risk.
‘A lockdown is the most effective and efficient way to prevent onward transmission of COVID-19. We know from other jurisdictions around the world that hard and strict measures introduced quickly generate the best results and that is our focus – to try and get this under control and us back to the normality we have all enjoyed as quickly as possible.’