Covid: Alderney advises mask use after three cases found

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image captionThe school was only due to be open until lunchtime as it is the last day of term

Community seeding appears to be behind three new positive cases of Covid-19 in Alderney, Public Health has said.

Alderney States has recommended mask use, increased handwashing and sanitiser use, social distancing and recording event attendees.

Restrictions on who can visit the hospital and Connaught Care Home are in place, with staff at the home and in medical settings using more PPE.

Before Friday Alderney had only had one confirmed case during the pandemic.

As an additional measure anyone travelling from Alderney to Guernsey will be offered the option of taking a Covid-19 test on arrival.

Alderney States advice

  • Wearing face coverings when out and about in the community, but strongly recommended when inside public buildings
  • Paying attention to hygiene such as frequent handwashing and using hand sanitisers when visiting public places
  • Respecting personal space with 2m (6ft) social distancing recommended
  • Organisers of events should keep a list of attendees in case contact tracing is required

Alderney's senior politician Bill Abel said: "The island is highly vaccinated but we are urging people to be cautious in order to minimise risk. Along with Guernsey, we are learning to live responsibly with Covid."

Dr Nicola Brink, director of Public Health, said: "We expected and are fully prepared for managing instances of community seeding as we begin to live responsibly with Covid, and they are not of themselves cause for significant concern.

"We will continue with our significant efforts around contact tracing to help contain them. I don't want the Bailiwick community to be concerned that any time we contact trace in an education setting, we will take the decision to close the school.

"That won't necessarily be the case and will depend on the individual circumstances."

She said a "cautious approach was appropriate in this case".

St Anne's School was closed on Friday as eight staff members were told to isolate due to being close contacts.

Even those staff who are fully vaccinated have been asked to isolate while "surge testing and further contact tracing is carried out".

Martin Winward, head teacher of St Anne's School, said: "I think this is a pragmatic and sensible decision given the circumstances and will hopefully reassure our local community as a result of the prompt action taken.

"While none of the three positive cases identified work in the school, eight members of our staff are now in self-isolation as close contacts of one of the positive cases, so it is sensible for us to close today - especially as it is a half day for the last day of term - so that Public Health can focus on further contact tracing and testing."

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