‘Socially Distanced States’ Meeting’ (Photo: David Nash)
Bill Abel, Chair of the Policy and Finance Committee gave a report on the developing COVID-19 situation on Alderney.
On 16th July 2021 Alderney experienced a rapid increase in COVID cases. The hospital and IMC have over 800 tests since that date. 27 people have tested positive. It is hoped infections have plateaued.
Mr Abel said “59 people are isolation. This leaves business and public services in some difficulty. The community is understandably angry.”
He then gave an overview of the vaccination programme.
He said “We can no longer rely on protection from being in the fortress. We all have to be responsible. We have to consider our actions, particularly in respect of others.”
“It is essential the island is a safe place. That will boost the economy” he said
Bill Abel said that when considering next steps that we are a small part of the Bailiwick, although naturally and important one.
It is wrong to refer to Blue Travellers as ‘smurfs‘ he said. He went on to say, however, without irony that we need a blueprint for living with COVID.
The CCA has also been asked if the Alderney Media can send questions in at the briefing.
The situation is not easy. It is not simple. Stand back and consider the support we’ve had. We have not been let down.
I have raised the concerns of this States to the CCA. The CCA is actively looking at practical measures that can be implemented quickly. The CCA meets again tomorrow, after which I can update you further.
The President clarified that Dr Simmonds was part of the technical and scientific cell advising the CCA.
Mr Jenkins said the report was very comprehensive. Ms Burgess agreed with Mr Jenkins that it was comprehensive. She said she wanted to applaud all involved in the response to the COVID cluster.
Alex Snowdon said: ‘It’s very important we are having this sort of a debate’. He went on to say that the impact on the quality of life and island services has been high, with significant repercussions.
Kevin Gentle expressed thanks for all the hard work, but the CCA may have ‘dropped the ball’ with the decision to open the borders on July 1st. ‘“States Members do care” he said. “It affects us as well”.
Boyd Kelly said that Bill Abel had faced uncalled-for comments on QUAY-FM. “We do care” he said. “We live here. People affected are friends of mine”. He said that testing-on-arrival sound like an easy solution. If the recent outbreak was self-seeding, testing-on-arrival would not have prevented it. He referred to Dr Brink’s advice that instances of community seeding are to be expected as we learn to live with COVID. We’ve been guided to date by Dr Brink, and criticism now is uncalled-for.
Bill Abel said that the CCA consists of a much bigger body than just 7 members, whose job it is to make sure that its actions are reasonable and proportionate. Not everything is agreed by everyone, but once a decision is made, the decision is supported.
Graham McKinley paid tribute to the hard work being done, particularly by the CEO and others.
Bill Abel then proposed a number of technical measures which were approved (“not anulled”) by the States.
There was a short discussion about the recent visit from the IHRA, following a question from Kevin Gentle and the meeting closed at 1608.