Coronavirus tests in Guernsey 'by April'

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image captionMore than 270 people in Guernsey have been tested for the virus, with two confirmed cases to date

Tests for coronavirus could be carried out in Guernsey by April, senior politicians and officials say.

The first piece of equipment to enable on-island testing has arrived but the testing facility is still in progress.

Officials said they had been concerned by how long it took to get results from the UK, with Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink saying delays made it difficult to establish infection rates.

To date, two cases have been confirmed in Guernsey.

The latest patient, who arrived from France, is believed to be recovering well with support from health care professionals.

Hardship fund

The island has seen 273 people tested for the virus, with 156 negative results and 115 people still awaiting their results.

A facility for the equipment and testing is still to be completed. Once set up, Guernsey results could be delivered on the same day, public health officials said previously.

Policy and Resources President Gavin Pier said efforts to improve timely testing through the UK "had been encouraging" and there had been "some improvements in the last 24 hours".

The Employment and Social Security Committee (ESS) has launched a hardship fund to help working islanders impacted by the Covid-19 situation.

Officials said the fund was intended to provide emergency relief for buying essential items such as food and cleaning products.

People who would not normally qualify for welfare, but had seen a significantly reduced income as a result of the virus, were able to apply for funds, they said.

Example situations included people made redundant or facing reduced hours, or those who had been unable to work due to self-isolation or staying at home to look after children, ESS said.

People wishing to apply are asked to call or email ESS, but should not go in person to Edward Wheadon House.

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