The Civil Contingencies Authority has decided to change the travel rules which were planned to take effect
from July 1st, maintaining many of the current restrictions into July.
Prevalence levels of COVID-19 are continuing to rise quickly across many UK regions and data focusing specifically on the Delta Variant is also showing that it is more transmissible than other variants, and the efficacy of a single dose of a vaccine is reduced significantly (approx. 17%).
The reduction in efficacy of the vaccine after both doses is however less severe (approx. 8%). Data is continuing to emerge; however, these initial findings are of concern and the CCA has agreed it is right to make changes to the plans for travel from July 1 st and to continue to review the situation every two weeks thereafter.
This means that the move to a traffic light system aligned to the UK’s travel rules has been postponed.
The current Categories 1 – 4 system for countries and regions which is based on 14-days’ prevalence data over 7 consecutive days will now be maintained.
There is some good news, however.
Recognising the Delta Variant’s reduction in vaccine efficacy is less significant for those who are fully vaccinated, the CCA has agreed that a new ‘Blue ‘travel category will commence, on 1 st July for fully vaccinated people who are two weeks or more post their second vaccination.
This means that people who are fully vaccinated will be able to arrive in the Bailiwick from the UK or other parts of the Common Travel Area without the need to test or self-isolate.
People travelling from the UK or other parts of the Common Travel Area who are not yet fully vaccinated will continue to be subject to the category requirements – as now– based on the rate of prevalence in the country or region they are travelling from.
Over half (54%) of the Bailiwick of Guernsey’s adult population are fully vaccinated. Each week thousands more doses are administered and thousands more Islanders become fully vaccinated. It is expected that all adults in the Bailiwick who choose to have the vaccine will be fully vaccinated by 17th August.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache, Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority said today:
“We’ve said in recent months, as we have for the past year, that this is still a fast-changing situation and this pandemic will continue to present us with unexpected challenges therefore we could not make any guarantees about the 1 st July.
But of course, we had hoped we would be able to move ahead with the plans as we had set them out and it is disappointing to see the data from across other parts of the British Isles. Few places are in our fortunate position without active cases and without needing NPIs such as social distancing, face-coverings and limits on gathering sizes.
I am sorry for those who were looking forward to the removal of travel restrictions, who will now have to wait a few more weeks. But I am glad that for those already fully vaccinated we can allow unrestricted travel to the UK, for many I hope it means their plans to see family and friends they’ve been separated from can go ahead.
We’re very aware this decision may feel unfair for those who’ve not yet had the chance to be fully vaccinated.
But we’ve made this decision, based on evidence, with the aim of allowing as much unrestricted travel as possible while ensuring we maintain reasonable measures to prevent people becoming seriously ill and requiring hospitalisation, avoid the need to re-introduce NPIs and avoid a third lockdown.
We wish we were in a position to safely lift more travel restrictions as we’d planned on July 1st but, given the circumstances, we hope Islanders will understand the need for this temporary measure to see us through these few additional weeks.”
Dr Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health said:
“Variants of concern such as the Delta Variant are one of the key variables we’ve known that have the potential to force a change in our plans, and we still need to be able to react quickly as a community when faced with these developments.
The next few weeks are going to be critical as we see if the current increase in infections in the UK stabilises or worsens. However, the evidence available to us now gives us enough concern to pause to allow for more of our population to be fully vaccinated. It also stresses the importance of getting our community fully vaccinated as quickly as possible.”