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Coronavirus hits Channel Islands

Coronavirus hits Channel Islands

Monday 09 March 2020

Coronavirus hits Channel Islands

Coronavirus has now reached the Channel Islands, with the first case confirmed in Guernsey today.

The patient was tested after returning from Tenerife with symptoms of the Covid-19 virus: a cough, fever and shortness of breath.

They quickly sought help and are said to be doing well, with support from relevant healthcare professionals.

Tenerife is listed in Group B, meaning anyone returning to the island from the country only needs to self-isolate if they have symptoms of the virus.


Pictured: The patient had recently returned from Tenerife.

"The patient has a clear travel history, indicating the likely source of infection," Guernsey's Director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink, commented.

"This underlines our consistent messaging to the community that if you return from a Group B country and show symptoms, however mild, you should contact the coronavirus helpline for advice and to get tested."

Guernsey Grammar School's Principal Robert O'Brien later confirmed that the patient was a parent of a child at the college, explaining in an email to parents that the student is now self-isolating at home.

Guernsey's Public Health Services are reminding people that more than 80% of coronavirus cases are mild.

Unlike flu, current indications are that individuals who are showing no symptoms are unlikely to be contagious.

All Health and Social Care professionals in the island are using infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus, and are asking the community to respect the privacy of the patient concerned.

Services are already working to identify people who have come into contact with the patient in order to contain the virus.

Meanwhile, a ward has been closed at Southampton Hospital, the facility where islanders are sent to receive treatment for cancer. However, the hospital says all other services are running as normal.

The high-dependency unit shut after a staff member, who worked a single nightshift at the hospital on Friday (6 March), tested positive for the bug.

southampton hospital

Pictured: A ward at Southampton Hospital, where Jersey people receive treatment for cancer, has been closed in response to a staff member contracting Covid-19.

The announcements comes on the same day that Jersey's government has launched a major public hygiene awareness campaign, urging islanders to wash their hands regularly and to cover their mouths and noses when they cough and sneeze, ahead of a meeting of the Emergencies Council on Thursday.

More than 80 people have been tested for coronavirus in Jersey, but there are still no confirmed cases.

As Guernsey has not yet been designated an "affected jurisdiction", travel between the islands remains the same.

The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, explained this afternoon: “It does not matter that Coronavirus is now geographically closer to Jersey, the Island is well-prepared to deal with any cases. It is also important to stress that there is no need to behave differently – people can continue to fly and sail between the islands."

Inter island ferry

Pictured: Inter-island travel has not been affected by the confirmed case in Guernsey.

For more information about coronavirus, including the list of affected countries and advice on when to self-isolate, click HERE.

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