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  1. Seaweed sanitiser goes on sale to the public

    Nikki Harrison, Chief Operating Officer, St John Ambulance Guernsey

    The hand sanitiser made from alcohol and seaweed by two Guernsey companies is now available for sale and distribution to the general public.

    It was initially only available to health services and essential workers.

    It is being distributed by St John and can be ordered by emailing sanitiser@stjohn.gg and the St John HealthCare shop will arrange delivery.

    The 70% alcohol-based seaweed hand sanitiser was created by Guernsey Seaweed and the Channel Islands Liquor Company, which normally produces gin.

    A small profit from the product will support the community work of St John Ambulance Guernsey.

  2. Coronavirus: 'No one should go without medication or food'

    St John Ambulance Guernsey is reminding islanders who are shielding or isolating and in need of medication or urgent food supplies that they have volunteers who can help.

    Anyone needing groceries or medication can call 742147.

    Nikki Harrison, St John chief operating officer, said: "Continuing to take regular prescription medication is so important, especially at the moment.

    "No one should go without medication or food. We have become aware that some people are not calling for help when they really need it.

    "We don’t want vulnerable people going out, but equally we don’t want people not getting the essential things they need and then getting unwell in the days to come."

    She said: "We’ve also been told about people living alone who may get meals-on-wheels once a day, but not having enough food for breakfast or dinner.

    "We are here to support anyone in the community who needs our help.

    "If anyone is struggling with means to pay as we know this can be an issue with not working or not being able to get to the bank, please reach out as we have funds in place to help.

    "The message is please don’t be afraid to ask for help."

  3. Coronavirus patient identified by atypical symptoms

    A hospital patient was only discovered to have coronavirus after a range of new symptoms were added to the detection list.

    Dr Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health, said she was prompted to add to the list after residents in care homes were commonly presenting with atypical symptoms.

    The list of symptoms for coronavirus now includes:

    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath, chest tightness
    • Continuous new cough
    • Muscle ache (fatigue, exhaustion)
    • Headache (sinus pain, pain around eyes)
    • Loss of smell or taste
    • Sore throat

    Guernsey's medical director Dr Peter Rabey said the individual who tested positive in hospital was now recovering well.

    "That patient would not have been picked up in a normal hospital," he said.

    He thanked Dr Brink for the comprehensive symptom list.

  4. 'Stay at home to stop health services being overwhelmed'

    Guernsey's healthcare services have guidance in place in the eventuality that services get overrun and decisions over who should receive treatment need to be made.

    The confirmation was in response to a question about the release of an ethical framework document by the Government of Jersey on Thursday.

    Medical director Dr Peter Rabey said: "It's possible we might be overwhelmed and making really tough decisions.

    "So yes we have guidance in place we haven't invented it ourselves we've borrowed heavily from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and best practice guidance out there."

    Quote Message: The key message has to be so long as we continue to follow Public Health guidance; the stay at home message so long as we continue with the strategy we should be able to avoid ever getting to the stage where our health care system is overwhelmed and our professionals have to be faced with those horrendous decisions." from Deputy Gavin St Pier Chairman of the Civil Contingencies Authority
    Deputy Gavin St PierChairman of the Civil Contingencies Authority
  5. Basis of lockdown 'exit strategy' outlined

    The basis for monitoring the Bailiwick of Guernsey's progress during its phased exit from lockdown has been outlined by director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink.

    Dr Brink outlined they would combine the "triad" of testing, contact tracing and quarantine of potential Covid-19 patients, with establishing criteria to trigger the reintroduction of some lockdown measures.

    This "adaptive triggering" criteria would be made up of the most concerning changes to the status of the virus on the island.

    Dr Brink gave examples where deterioration in certain areas might trigger the reintroduction of restrictions, including intensive care admissions, hospital admissions, a rise in community transmission or doctors reporting a growth in respiratory infections.

    She said: "It's a whole lot of things together, because we have relatively small numbers we don't want to rely on a single parameter, because our decision making could then be flawed.

    "We want to look at this in the round and make a judgement on all of those together."

  6. Reopened businesses must provide staff numbers

    Paul Whitfield said the States is giving businesses a "heads up" before some will be allowed to reopen from next Saturday.

    The government will need to know which businesses would like to open and with how many staff they will operate before they are given permission.

    He said this period would allow businesses to make queries before opening.

    "Understanding who is in what workplace helps the tracing if something should happen in that work area," he said.

    Deputy Heidi Sousby said "a lot of detail" was required for lifting such restrictions.

    Businesses have been urged to wait for the details to be released next week before contacting the States with queries.

  7. More than 2,800 businesses apply for financial support

    More than 2,800 businesses and sole traders have applied for the States of Guernsey's financial assistance programmes, chief executive Paul Whitfield said.

    He said the programmes - created in response to the issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic - had already paid out £2.2m in support payments.

    An additional 200 applications have been made since Wednesday's announcement of the expansion of support measures to more sectors and self-employed people, Mr Whitfield said.

  8. School closure aims to protect children

    Dr Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health, said keeping schools closed aimed to limit the "stop-starting" decision making and its impact on children.

    She said she was conscious "as a parent" of the effect it could have on young people.

    "We decided to look at a period of closure while we continue to monitor what goes on in our community", she said.

    "We felt we needed to prepare everyone for a five-week delay in the attendance of school on site."

    Dr Brink added: "If we find we can safely open earlier, we will do that."

  9. Distance learning designed to 'support' families

    Guernsey's distance learning programme has been developed to support students and parents, States Chief Executive Paul Whitfield said.

    Mr Whitfield assured parents there was "no expectation" they must "take on the role of teacher".

    Mr Whitfield said: "There will be no set timetable that must be followed.

    "Teachers will provide distance learning materials and activities to be completed at the times that best suit your family."

    He recognised distance learning could not replicate the education or social benefits of being in school.

    However, Mr Whitfield added he was sure all teachers in Guernsey would "go above and beyond" to support students and parents.

    A guidance document will be sent to parents by their child's school.

  10. Whistleblower line aims to stop 'bending of the rules'

    A whistleblower line is being set up to allow residents to report any businesses that might be flouting lockdown measures, Deputy Heidi Sousby has said.

    She said some businesses that could operate by very specific rules and present a "low risk" to the community would be given the opportunity to open in the coming weeks.

    "At this stage we expect it will include business activities involving outside work such a gardening and window cleaning, as well as limited small domestic construction activity."

    These businesses must register their interest with the government first and detailed guidance is due to be published next week

    "We won't tolerate any business trying to bend the rules", Deputy Sousby warned.

    "We are giving an inch, we will not allow any business to take a mile for the purpose of making money," she said.

  11. 'Breathtaking' number of coronavirus tests conducted

    Guernsey conducted coronavirus 176 tests on Wednesday alone, which would equate to 176,000 in the UK, Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink said.

    Dr Brink said they had conducted 2,223 tests in total, which she described as a "breathtaking" number in the circumstances.

    The island now has 236 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 82 of those patients fully recovered.

    Dr Brink added that half of under-18s with the virus have recovered.

    Nine patients on the island have been confirmed to have died, one in the hospital, with four further people being described as presumptive deaths.

  12. Borders 'one of the last' restrictions lifted

    Guernsey's borders will be "one of the last" lockdown restrictions lifted during the coronavirus pandemic, Deputy Heidi Soulsby said.

    The President of Health and Social Care said the island's "biggest risk" is from people travelling here.

    Mrs Soulsby said: "We just have to see what's going on around us, we've got France and the UK in particular who have real problems.

    "To be opening now would be a rather odd decision given everything we're doing."

  13. 'Stay at home' remains key message

    Deputy Heidi Sousby, President of Guernsey's Committee for Health and Social Care, says the message remains to "stay at home" if you can.

    She said while the States hoped to ease lockdown restrictions at the end of next week, islanders needed to remain vigilant.

    "This isn't business as usual, and neither is it life as normal just yet."

    The following lockdown measures will not change in phase two:

    • Stay at home except in limited circumstances
    • Over 65s and those shielding to stay at home
    • Stopping of gatherings of more than two people in public
    • Only essential travel in and out of the Bailiwick
    • Closing of community spaces
    • Closure of schools
    • Promotion of home working
  14. Borders to remain 'very tight' while lockdown eases

    Guernsey's borders will remain "very tight" when the island enters the third phase of relaxing its coronavirus restrictions, Deputy Gavin St Pier announced.

    He said: "We will have effectively free movement around the island, but off-island travel will still be limited."

    Mr St Pier added that schools and most business will be open, including non-essential shops, hotels, restaurants, kiosks and some public venues.

    However, Mr St Pier said "higher risk" venues, like bars and nightclubs, could remain closed "or be subject to restrictions" for longer.

    Mr St Pier acknowledged travel and other tourist activity is "likely to be limited" by the continuing controls over who can enter the island.

    He could not confirm when the phase would begin, but clarified it would be kept under "constant review".

    Phase two - allowing some low-risk businesses to operate under strict conditions - is due to start on 25 April.

  15. Public venues to remain closed

    Clubs, bars, restaurants, gyms and churches are among the public service venues that will remain closed in phase two of releasing the lockdown.

    Phase one was allowing local businesses to deliver goods under strict criteria and phase two will start on 25 April.

    Deputy Gavin St Pier said "non-essential activities requiring direct contact" remained prohibited.

    It means people people must not engage in activities such as hair and beauty treatments or physiotherapy.

    Deputy St Pier said decisions would be made about which businesses would be allowed to open if safe to do so.

    Detailed advice is due to be issued next week.

  16. Permanent lockdown would leave Bailiwick 'in ruins'

    Deputy Gavin St Pier has said it is not possible to maintain a "full lockdown" because it would leave Guernsey's social and economic infrastructure "in ruins".

    He said the coronavirus had created 28,000-30,000 "household bubbles" in the Bailiwick.

    "Any exit strategy has to be how we allow our bubbles to interact," he said.

    The government's next priority was to establish a single group of decision makers who would determine the strategy, Deputy St Pier said.

  17. Relaxing restrictions needs to be taken 'carefully'

    Quote Message: We can't afford for the community’s hard work in responding to this virus to be undone." from Dr Nicola Brink Director of Public Health
    Dr Nicola BrinkDirector of Public Health

    Detailed guidance about the relaxation of some rules relating to businesses that can operate safely is due to be published next week.

    "This next step is one we need to take carefully," said Guernsey's director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink.

    "The lockdown restrictions we’ve put in place, asking islanders to stay at home unless it’s essential and hammering home the messages about social distancing, washing your hands and shielding the most vulnerable, have been effective.

    "Islanders have done brilliantly, but we need them to keep doing what they’re doing.

    "We’re seeing the ‘flattening of the curve’ and I’m hopeful we’ll soon see the number of new positive cases begin to fall.

    "For that reason I’m optimistic that, to a limited degree, some more business activity can soon resume.

    "But we need to make sure there’s very clear guidance for businesses, and businesses really will have to make sure they look at that guidance in detail and stick to it."

    Businesses are asked to await the detailed guidance before making plans to reopen or contacting the States of Guernsey’s business support.

  18. Guernsey schools remain closed until 31 May

    Bailiwick of Guernsey schools will remain closed until 31 May, the States of Guernsey has announced.

    The continued closure accompanies the decision to extend the lockdown measures until 25 April.

    Schools were initially closed for the two weeks on 23 March leading up to the Easter holidays, following delays to coronavirus test results from the UK.

    Distance learning will be used for the first five weeks until the end of the May half term, the Committee for Education Sport and Culture said.

    A guidance document will be sent to all parents via schools on Friday to offer advice and information about how the process will work.

  19. Lockdown restrictions to be eased from 25 April

    The current stay at home restrictions in force across the Bailiwick of Guernsey will remain in place until 00:01 on 25 April.

    A Civil Contingencies Authority spokesman said: "The restrictions, and the community’s support in observing them, have been a real success and meant a significant rise in Covid-19 cases has so far been avoided."

    Due to this there will be a "phased easing of restrictions" from midnight on the 25 April to "gradually allow some sectors to resume business activity and allow more employees onto premises and work sites".

    However, he warned "significant restrictions" in staff numbers and how they operate will remain in place.

    More details are due to be released next week.

  20. Bereavement counselling offered via video call

    A free video call counselling service has been launched by Guernsey Bereavement Services.

    The organisation's chair John Moses said while face-to-face counselling was their preferred method, video calling allowed the bereaved and counsellor to retain "emotional connectivity" during counselling.

    Mr Moses said: "The fact that Covid-19 is impacting on everyone will bring a lot of emotions to the fore, this could be a current bereavement due to Covid-19 or a past bereavement which has now finally come to the surface due to the circumstances that we are all dealing."

    Anyone looking for access to the service should ring 01481 257778 initially.