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Lockdown could be lifted ‘in stages’ after risk reduces

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THERE may have to be a staged approach to lifting the Islandwide lockdown to avoid a ‘second surge’ of COVID-19, the Chief Minister has said.

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During a Twitter question-and-answer session, Senator John Le Fondré said that there would be a transition period ‘back to normal life’ once the threat of the spread of coronavirus had reduced.

The Chief Minister announced this weekend that the Island would be placed in lockdown – meaning that Islanders can only leave their homes under restricted circumstances, for a maximum of two hours a day to complete things like essential shopping and daily exercise.

Responding to a question, Senator Le Fondré said: ‘When the time comes for us to lift lockdown, we’ll look at how we can transition back to normal life (re-opening businesses etc) in a staged way so that we can minimise the risk of a second surge.’

During the hour-long Twitter Q&A, Senator Le Fondré also clarified that Islanders were permitted to drive to different locations in order to exercise. When asked by an Islander about walking their dog on the beach, he said: ‘You can drive to the beach to walk your dog. However, your travel time is part of the two hours you can spend outside your home each day. Everyone should continue to maintain 2m distance from anyone outside their household.’

The Chief Minister also said that closing the ports to all passengers would not prevent the virus spreading. He added: ‘We already have evidence that the virus is transmitting within the Island, and have minimal people arriving via our ports. This means that closing the ports will not mean that the virus will not spread.’

The vast majority of flights have already been grounded, while Condor has stopped taking passengers on board its ferries.

Senator Le Fondré was also asked why he chose to impose a lockdown several days after his Guernsey counterpart, Deputy Gavin St Pier.

The Chief Minister said: ‘We’ve acted in steps to make sure that the most vulnerable people have been most protected. But, we’ve also been responding to our own specific circumstances. I respect @gavinstpier’s approach, and recognise each island is dealing with its own situation.’

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