22 March 2021
- Prioritisation of Strategic Objectives
- Moving and Planning for the Future
- March Flight
On Tuesday, 9 March 2021, the Incident Executive Group (IEG) met to discuss and review SHG’s Coronavirus Strategy, which was developed and implemented in 2020 to guide the Island’s planning and response to COVID-19. Members reviewed the strategic objectives and agreed that, whilst the priority objective is to minimise the risk of COVID-19 reaching the general populous of St Helena, it was important that resources are now also allocated to developing plans to minimise the impact of the pandemic on the Island’s economy and to plan for the future. In light of this, IEG agreed that the priority order for the strategic objectives should reflect this shift.
Prioritisation of Strategic Objectives
Therefore, at this present time, the Strategic Objectives (delivered through effective preparedness and response plans), ratified by IEG, are as follows in priority order:
- To be prepared to respond in a practical way to minimise the risk of COVID-19 reaching the general populous of St Helena
- To minimise the effects of COVID-19 on the Island economy, assess long-term effects, sustainability of resources available, and plan for future
- To maintain clear communication with the organisations and people who provide key public services, those who use them, and the wider general society
- To minimise the risk of exposure and transmission of the virus to key workers and the wider community
- To minimise the risk of serious illness or death caused by COVID-19.
In order to deliver these objectives there is action planning around four phases:
- Prevention & Planning
- Contain & Control
- Delay & Eliminate
- Return to Normal
Moving and Planning for the Future
Robust plans and operating procedures are in place for the first three phases, and SHG is now focussing on planning for how the Island will gradually return to normal as the Island vaccine programme is implemented, and as other countries start to open their borders to international travel.
This will start with the current immigration restrictions on air and sea travel being lifted as of 1 April 2021. The restrictions that were implemented in January 2021, mean that only St Helenians and their dependants, individuals in the service of the Crown in the right of the Government of St Helena and their dependants, individuals with long term entry permits, and transit passengers solely for the purpose of entering or leaving Ascension have been able to enter St Helena.
Lifting these restrictions will now mean anyone who meets the immigration conditions for entry to St Helena, including those arriving on Yachts, will be able to enter the Island provided they comply with the mandatory quarantine requirements. COVID-19 preventative measures will remain in place, these include testing on arrival to St Helena, mandatory 14-day quarantine and a negative test result before being allowed to finish a quarantine period.
The process for prioritisation of passengers for the flight scheduled for the end of March 2021 will be implemented as usual.
The flight arrangements to St Helena thereafter will continue with a maximum capacity of 96 passengers. The total of 96 passengers is to align with the Island’s COVID-19 testing and quarantine security system capacity and will therefore continue to be applied.
With the UK still in a national lockdown and with stringent travel restrictions in place, it is anticipated that there will not be a significant increase in numbers entering St Helena immediately.
The decision to partially open St Helena’s borders will allow Islanders and visitors to make travel plans to the Island once more, albeit with additional requirements due to the continuance of COVID-19 preventative measures in place.
22 March 2021