4 May 2020
Who is monitoring the situation?
St Helena Government (SHG) continues to monitor possible threats to the community and to prepare control arrangements for Coronavirus (COVID-19). The preventative measures on the Island are under constant review by SHG to ensure that they are working and new information is taken into account.
The Incident Executive Group (IEG) meets regularly to review the Island’s preparedness, the latest travel developments and St Helena’s physical requirements.
Keeping St Helena safe is our priority and we would like to reassure you that we have deployed all resources into preparing and responding to any threat to the Island from COVID-19.
The situation is constantly being monitored to ensure that the preventive measures in place are working, and processes are regularly updated to reflect changing circumstances. The Health Directorate continues to work closely with Public Health England and the World Health Organization on the spread of COVID-19 and we are doing all we can to prevent the virus from reaching the Island.
A Command Structure and Coronavirus Strategy is in place and is continuously reviewed to ensure that key parties are ready to respond in the event COVID-19 reaches St Helena.
The IEG has three phases of planning to manage the COVID-19 threat:
Prevent – Keep COVID-19 off-Island
Contain – Limit the spread of Coronavirus on St Helena
Delay – Reduce the number of serious cases
We are in the Prevent Stage, and all resources have been deployed to ensure we remain at this stage for as long as possible.
What preventative measures are in place on-Island?
All new arrivals to St Helena will continue to be subject to legally required 14-day quarantine at Bradley’s Camp or another suitable location as directed by a Proper Officer. New arrivals are tested for COVID-19 after the 14 days quarantine as an extra reassurance.
Anyone on-Island who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 (including fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, aches, fatigue) should call the Hospital on tel: 25707 and self- isolate. Please do NOT go to the Hospital.
Marine vessels are allowed to enter port and the crew subsequently permitted to enter St Helena only after they have completed 14 days quarantine, display no COVID-19 symptoms and as an extra reassurance have tested negative for COVID-19 on the fourteenth day of quarantine
The 14 days quarantine period for those arriving on marine vessels will now be defined as the absence of COVID-19 for 14 days. The 14 days will be counted to include days spent at sea (based on official ship’s records), days spent quarantining on a vessel in St Helena waters or days spent quarantining at Bradley’s Camp or another suitable location. This is similar to arrangements in some other overseas territories
The IEG are considering a request from the Ascension Island Government to introduce reciprocal arrangements for any passengers travelling from Ascension Island on future charter flights.
The arrangements would see passengers from Ascension, which is COVID-19 free, able to self-isolate in their own homes instead of undergoing the 14-day quarantine at Bradley’s Camp.
A clear set of operating procedures are being developed by the Health Directorate on how self-isolation at home would be managed. This document would then go to a meeting of Legislative Council as soon as possible for their discussion and approval.
What protective measures are in place for Hospital Staff as well as the staff from the private sector cleaning company that is tasked with cleaning the General Hospital?
Staff at the General Hospital are using appropriate personal protective equipment and are briefed regularly on the latest precautionary and protective measures.
Cleaners must ensure that they follow the safety precaution advice of regularly washing hands and using the catch it, bin it, kill it, method when coughing and sneezing. The cleaning company will meet with the Director and Assistant Director of Health to discuss any questions and concerns they might have.