Coronavirus (Covid -19) St Helena Preparedness Update 25 March 2020

Coronavirus-Graphic

St Helena is still in the Prevent Stage and keeping St Helena safe is our priority. There are no suspected cases of COVID-19 on the Island.

Yesterday, Chairman of the Public Health Committee, Councillor Derek Thomas, announced the following further measures to try and prevent the virus from reaching St Helena:

  • Airlink flights will now be fortnightly, although this decision has been affected by the South Africa three-week lockdown
  • All new arrivals (by air and sea) to St Helena will be subject to compulsory quarantine for 14 days. This will be at a location approved by a Proper Officer (designated by Law).

The three-week lockdown in South Africa from Thursday, 26 March, has implications for St Helena and will affect the weekly scheduled flight to the Island. Current indications are that the earliest the next scheduled flight will arrive at St Helena is on Saturday, 18 April 2020, however this is subject to change.

We understand that this is a difficult time for travellers especially those in South Africa needing to get back to the Island. We have several medical referrals and carers currently in Pretoria who will be affected by the travel ban and we are in the process of putting in place arrangements for both our patients and carers to ensure that they are looked after.

We cannot guarantee the schedule of future commercial flights to and from St Helena. If anybody is concerned (Saints /tourists/ contractors) about getting back to their home country or if there are people wanting to return to St Helena please contact Jane Roberts on tel: 22158 or email: jane.roberts@tourism.co.sh.

We are pleased to advise that the MV Helena is now berthed in Cape Town and is currently undergoing cargo operations. The vessel will depart Cape Town tomorrow, Thursday 26 March, and is estimated to arrive at St Helena on Thursday, 2 April.

Self-Isolation – why is it so important?

Following Saturday’s flight (21 March), 37 passengers have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days as per the new directives of SHG which were agreed on 16 March by the Incident Executive Group (IEG).

All passengers have been informed and issued with a letter explaining the conditions of self-isolation.

Self-isolation is a legal requirement and means – the separation of a person from any other person in such a manner as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the following locations:

  • At the person’s home
  • At a hospital; or
  • At another suitable place as directed by a Proper Officer

If you fail to comply with the requirements of the regulations then you may be detained and placed in isolation.

We would like to stress that this social responsibility should be taken seriously – to keep the virus off the Island we all need to work together. Members of the public who have been instructed to self-isolate should therefore comply. Anyone aware of someone who is breaking their self-isolation should inform the Hospital or Police Headquarters immediately.

What is the difference between self-isolation and quarantine?

Quarantine is different from self-isolation as it provides a higher level of monitoring where those quarantined are not only physically separated from the community, but closely monitored to ensure they do not have contact with others. Quarantine means a higher level of control.

Information about COVID-19

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through contact with an infected person, normally generated through coughs or sneezes or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. Infection with COVID-19 can cause mild symptoms similar to other flu-like viruses, for example a runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever.

If you become ill with any of these symptoms do not go to the Hospital. Instead call the hospital for advice on the dedicated phone number: 25707

Self-isolate at home and await advice from Hospital staff.

Prevention

  • Please practice good hygiene and wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty
  • Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with a virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer a virus from the surface to yourself
  • Develop a practice of social distancing as it has been proven to slow the spread of the virus. Avoid shaking hands and hugging – wave instead.

Keeping up-to-date

We wish to reassure you that at this time there are no suspected cases of COVID-19 on the Island.

Please tune into the radio on a daily basis, look out for our regular news releases and Social Media updates, watch the promo TV channel and visit our ‘live’

Question and Answer page on the SHG website: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/coronavirus-COVID-19-live-qa/.

Anyone with concerns on a particular issue relating to COVID-19 that is not already covered in the Q&A should contact COVID-19 Communications Officer, Kimberley Peters, via email: kimberley.peters@sainthelena.gov.sh or tel: 22470.

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SHG
25 March 2020



St Helena Government Press Office

Telephone: 22470
Email: liam.yon@sainthelena.gov.sh