June 26, 2022

First with the Alderney News

Guernsey outbreak is UK variant, tests reveal

2 min read

All four of the first cases of the new wave of Covid 19 have tested positive for the UK so called ‘Kent’ variant.

Dr Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health, said the results were no surprise.

All four are the B117 UK variant of the virus. This fits with our understanding of what is happening to us with the extremely rapid spread, that we didn’t see in the first wave.

‘We were highly suspicious this was a variant so on Friday 22nd January we responded immediately.

Knowing this does help inform our policies but it does not affect our management of the situation.’

There currently 366 active cases in the Bailiwick; 10 people are being treated in hospital with Covid symptoms and two are receiving intensive care.

On Saturday nine new cases were identified, two from unexplained community sources and on Sunday 21 new cases were found, again with two of unknown community source.

Dr Brink however said it was thought that only one of those unexplained community cases was genuinely unexplained – there were links to contact cases with the others.

She said the peak of the outbreak appeared to be around the 28th-30th January and now both new cases and unexplained community cases were coming down.

By 1pm  today no new positive cases had been recorded.

Contact cases (green line) and unexplained community cases (orange line) are coming down

Dr Brink said:

‘I’m optimistic. Even if you look at last cluster of four unexplained community cases, there’s a suspicion of links to sources linked to areas where we’ve had Covid activity. Contact tracing is working well, testing is going well, so we’re moving in right direction. But it could flare up again. We can’t become complacent.’

Dr Brink addressed suggestions that the Astra Zenica vaccine – deployed in Alderney – was less effective against the South African variant of the virus.

She said the studies had so far been very small, were not yet peer reviewed and that she would be closely following further studies on it.  She said the evidence was that it did protect against severe illness and death.

She added:

‘It may be that in future we carry out one to two year boosting,  that the vaccine is tweaked for variants like the flu vaccine.’

Chief Minister Peter Ferbrache said talks would take place on potentially opening up a travel corridor with the Isle of Man and Jersey.

Meanwhile children of two key worker parents and vulnerable pupils will return to school tomorrow after testing among pupils and staff at the weekend. No positive results came back.

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