Friday 13 March 2020
The States of Guernsey's Civil Contingencies Authority (CCA) has met again to discuss the ongoing response to the developing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
The CCA is the body that is responsible for coordinating actions in a range of circumstances, including those that present a serious risk to the health and welfare of Island residents. It includes the Presidents of the Policy & Resources Committee and the Committees forHealth & Social Care, Home Affairs and Environment & Infrastructure.
At this second meeting, held on March 12, the CCA were updated on the measures taken so far and the advice issued by Public Health Services as part of its ongoing effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The CCA were also updated regarding the States Assembly & Constitution Committee's policy letter on 'Remote attendance at committee meetings and extending proxy voting at States Meetings'. The members of the CCA expressed their full support for SACC's proposals, so that these measures can be available to deploy should the CCA determine that the situation has escalated.
The situation is serious and fast-changing and for this reason, it was felt appropriate to convene the CCA. The CCA also agreed that the provisions of the Civil Contingencies Law were engaged by the conditions in which we find ourselves, so unlocking the full powers of that Law, if and when needed. The CCA also agreed that it will now meet as frequently as is necessary.
Deputy Gavin St Pier, Chair of the CCA said:
'Should the powers of the CCA need to be invoked, we are ready to act, but we are not at that stage. We are considering Emergency Powers Regulations for future use, if required. This is just another part of the sensible advance planning and precautions taken by the States under the guidance of Public Health Services. It's now also very much down to the advice Public Health have issued to the community and the community's tremendous response. This is not just a public health and a government problem. This is a problem for the whole community and every single one of us can now step up and play a part in mitigating the risk to the rest by following rigidly the advice from Public Health.
I have seen how so many people are taking a responsible, thoughtful view and following the advice carefully, not only to protect themselves but to protect others who are more vulnerable. While nothing is certain, our hope is that by following this advice, we improve our chance of avoiding the worst impacts on the community and the need for more draconian measures later.'
A separate Coronavirus Political Executive Group has also been established with political representation from all principal States Committees and held its first meeting today. This will have delegated authorities from the respective Committees allowing swift decision making and appropriate action to be taken, as required, for matters which do not engage the CCA.