Coronavirus: 'Rapid increase' in Guernsey cases due to testing delays

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image captionDeputy Gavin St Pier said Guernsey had been "flying blind" for a few days due to testing delays

A rapid increase of coronavirus cases in Guernsey is a result of problems with testing in the UK, Guernsey's most senior politician has said.

Gavin St Pier, president of the Policy and Resources Committee, said 18 positive tests were recorded after a testing centre became "overwhelmed".

"For a few days we had no new information and were, in a sense, flying blind," he said.

The increase in positive tests was recorded during the weekend.

The comments came as new public health policy was outlined.

Deputy St Pier said there was no evidence of on-island transmission, as all of the new cases had travelled recently.

Following "extremely robust" talks with UK government, a new testing centre was identified and had "been working very well", he said.

Mr St Pier said Public Health was "nearly ready to start local testing" and was waiting on a final piece of kit. Until then the island was reliant on UK laboratories under "considerable pressure".

'Islanders spooked'

Mr St Pier said: "Sadly, before this pandemic has run its course we will all know somebody that has been touched by grief.

"It is to be expected that some islanders will have been spooked by the apparent rapid increase in positive test results in the last few days."

He said there were no positive cases of patients in hospital.

"The next few days are particularly crucial," he said. "Although community transmission is inevitable, it is the rate of community transmission that will dictate the measures we need to take."

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