7th September 2020

Coronavirus returns to Guernsey

The first case of COVID-19 to be detected in Guernsey was identified on 9 March 2020 in a resident returning from holiday in Tenerife. Legislation was quickly put in place requiring all arrivals to quarantine for a set period. However, this was not sufficient to prevent the first in-island transmission from person to person, which happened in late March.

At that point, more stingent lockdown measures were put in place, which proved successful, and by September, just 13 deaths had been recorded in Guernsey, in a global pandemic that had claimed millions of lives worldwide (the number of deaths in Guernsey had stood at 14, but this included a patient who had died with the virus, but not because of it; their death was later subtracted from the total). The BBC reported on 31 March 2020 that Guernsey’s first coronavirus death had been an 80 year old patient who had passed away at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital (23 June).

The island’s lockdown was initially set to last two weeks, but was extended to a month. By 19 April, no new cases were being reported and a phased end to the island-wide isolation measures was announced. Although there were still a few sporadic cases, they became rarer and rarer, allowing authorities to bring forward the eventual end of the isolation measures. Guernsey’s handling of the pandemic was held up as an example of what can be achieved, and Guernsey residents were able to enjoy a return to life largely as normal while the mainland continued with restrictions.

Coronavirus returns

However, on 7 September, when no cases had been detected in Guernsey for 129 days, the virus returned.

“The person [with the virus] had returned from the UK and was identified through a test taken on day seven of their isolation,” reported the BBC website on 7 September. “The States said the patient was “doing well” and was complying with self-isolation requirements.”

Despite the return of the virus, it was not deemed necessary to reintroduce restrictions on movement for the remainder of the year.

Cases increased in Guernsey in early 2021, rising to nearly 300 by the end of the month. Alderney went into lockdown in response, but the first COVID-19 case was identified in Alderney on 5 February. The affected patient was already in isolation at that point, and Alderney, like Guernsey, was by then in the process of rolling out vaccinations to residents.


FREE Guernsey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Guernsey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want. We'll also keep you up to date with our latest book releases and early-bird discounts.


Other events that occured in September

Channel Television took to the air 1st
A Guernseyman cycled to Herm 2nd
Brecqhou was put up for sale 3rd
Renoir arrived on Guernsey to paint 4th
Ship sinks in St Sampson harbour 5th
The melon king died… long live the melon king 6th
Coronavirus returns to Guernsey 7th
HD Ferries makes its last crossing
6th Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment fought at the Somme 8th
Guernsey number plate sold for £240,000 9th
Guernsey hosted the second Island Games 10th
Major Guernsey employer Tektronix went public 11th
Guernsey was struck by a hurricane 12th
Schoolboys and teacher went missing off Sark 13th
Guernsey holidaymakers head home itching 14th
The title Baron de Saumarez was created 15th
Missing girl, Jetta, was found on Guernsey 16th
Archaeologists found a porpoise grave 17th
An Islander aircraft crashed in Guernsey 18th
Guernsey commando Hubert Nicolle died 19th
Guernsey and Jersey considered merging 20th
Occupation resister Winifred Green was deported 21st
The Devil’s Rock had its opening night 22nd
The Duke of Connaught visited Guernsey 23rd
Former bailiff Daniel de Lisle Brock died 24th
Occupation president Ambrose Sherwill died 25th
Trudy, Guernsey’s biggest ever import, was installed 26th
“Let em starve,” said Churchill 27th
A Guernsey planning dispute headed to Europe 28th
Herm tenant Major Peter Wood died 29th
Spotlight was broadcast for the first time 30th