16 December 2020
The Incident Executive Group (IEG) agreed on Monday, 14 December 2020, to allow all future air arrivals to St Helena to quarantine in properties pre-approved by a Proper Officer. This is known and referred to as Home Quarantine.
So how does this work?
Here, we take a look at the full process of Home Quarantine for those coming to St Helena, step-by-step, from before they travel, to Day 14 of quarantine, and everything in between.
Step One: Pre-Flight Arrangements – Personal Assessment
Passengers who have been allocated a seat on a flight to St Helena will be sent a pre-arrival letter from the Director of Health detailing their legal responsibilities.
Each passenger is also sent a pre-assessment form requesting information on where the passenger has travelled to most recently and their personal circumstances.
Step Two: Pre-Flight Arrangements – Property Assessment
Prior to travel to St Helena, each passenger will be issued guidelines on home quarantine. The intention of providing this information at this early stage is to ensure that the passenger is fully briefed on what home quarantine on St Helena entails.
Alongside this, each passenger will be provided with a form to assess the suitability of their proposed accommodation for home quarantine. This accommodation assessment form must be submitted for review at least ten working days before travel to allow Proper Officers sufficient time to carry out all property assessments prior to the arrival of a flight.
If a Proper Officer determines that the property is not suitable for home quarantine, they will advise the passenger that alternative accommodation must be found. If a Proper Officer determines that the property is suitable for home quarantine, they will advise the passenger and provide guidance on how the home quarantine measures should be tailored to that particular property.
Once a property has been approved, neighbours in close proximity to the property will be informed that the property is going to be used for home quarantine.
Step Three: Pre-Arrival Arrangements
Prior to their arrival to St Helena, passengers must liaise with on-Island contacts to ensure that the property is ready for their arrival. They are encouraged to make arrangements to stock-up their property with sufficient supplies of food, cleaning products and medications for the 14 day period. This will limit the need for other deliveries during quarantine.
Step Four: Arrival to St Helena Airport
Passengers are required to wear face masks from the time they board the aircraft right up until they arrive at their home quarantine accommodation – these will be checked to ensure they are correctly worn at the Airport. Temperature checks by Health Officials will also be carried out.
Physical distancing guidelines are adhered to throughout processing of passengers.
Step Five: Briefing by Proper Officers
Once passengers have been processed through immigration and baggage collection they will be briefed by a Proper Officer.
Proper Officers will direct passengers to home quarantine, as determined by the pre-assessment. The briefing will outline the legality of quarantine, the key restrictions of it and what to do if a person begins to feel unwell. Passengers will also be informed of the requirement to be tested on arrival.
Passengers will also receive home quarantine guidelines, a letter from the Director of Health and a hand-washing leaflet.
Step Six: Testing on Arrival
It is mandatory for all passengers to be tested on arrival to St Helena with the exception of transit passengers, children aged ten years or younger, and arrivals from Ascension Island (as long as Ascension remains free from community spread of COVID-19).
Tests are done using a COVID-19 nasal swab test, with the results available within 24 hours. Test results allow the Health Directorate to better manage the home quarantine period.
Despite testing negative on arrival, it is still possible to present with symptoms of coronavirus up to Day 14. Therefore the 14 day quarantine must still be carried out.
If a passenger tests positive on arrival, this information is conveyed to the Senior Medical Officer to assess the passenger and the severity of the case. Asymptomatic or mild cases can be managed in home quarantine with additional measures however more severe cases may require activation of Bradley’s Hospital.
Step Seven: Transportation to Accommodation
Passengers who have made prior arrangements for a car to be delivered to the Airport are allowed to drive themselves to their accommodation. They must go directly to their accommodation and the vehicle must remain in quarantine, or be collected after a minimum period of 72 hours.
If this is not possible, alternative transport will be provided to take passengers to their home quarantine property with drivers and passengers observing distance ands wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Step Eight: Entering into the Property under Home Quarantine
It is mandatory that the property to be used for home quarantine is demarcated as a ‘Home Under Quarantine’ using the notices and tape provided by Proper Officers. This is the responsibility of the passenger following arrival to their accommodation.
Proper Officers will enlist the support of the Roaming Security Team to ensure that the signage remains in place during the 14 day quarantine period.
Step Nine: 14 Days of Home Quarantine
Once passengers arrive to their accommodation, their quarantine period begins. At this point they are issued a further information pack to help support them during quarantine.
Every individual in quarantine will have a daily ‘check in’ call. These calls are aimed at monitoring any symptoms and general wellbeing.
Deliveries of supplies can be made to those in quarantine. When organising a delivery, persons in home quarantine should advise of the delivery point as identified by a Proper Officer. Persons making a delivery should telephone the house prior to arrival so that persons in home quarantine can remain inside whilst the delivery is being made.
Household waste should be double bagged and dropped into the dedicated bin.
Properties under home quarantine will be closely monitored by a Roaming Security Team who will ensure that all guidance and rules are adhered to, particularly ensuring that there are no breaches of quarantine conditions.
Step Ten: Ending Quarantine
Exit testing will be carried out on Day 13 after arrival using the drive-through testing process at Bradley’s and quarantine would end at 11.59pm on Day 14 after arrival on evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.
Quarantine periods can be extended if a person fails to test negative on Day 14 after arrival.
Once the period of quarantine is over, those persons will be free to mix with the community and finally enjoy everything that St Helena has to offer.
Remember, we all have a duty to keep our Island, our friends and our families, safe. By complying with the guidance and rules of home quarantine, both those in quarantine and in the local community, are playing their part in protecting St Helena and should be commended as such.
Let’s continue to keep St Helena COVID-free together!
See infographic on the ten-step process.
16 December 2020