When I permanently lived in Guernsey, we used to say it was like living in a bubble. A place that was safe, secure and a sense that you were somewhat disconnected from the real world. But never did we think this would become such a reality as when coronavirus arrived.
Guernsey became the first island in the British isles to become Covid-19-free thanks to the incredible work of the Director of Public Health, Dr. Nicola Brink and her team, alongside the Guernsey Government who helped to lock down the island and track down existing cases. Dr. Nicola Brink told UK media she trained her whole life in anticipation of a virus such as this. Studying virology, she knew the potential of a virus such as Covid-19 and when the island had its first case she recalls the moment, standing up in her office, turning around to her team and saying “we know what we have to do”… And that she did.
An incredible track and trace system and an island lockdown, stopping all flights in or out, allowed the island with a population of 67,000 to become the safe haven it is today. I returned 5 weeks ago to visit family and myself had to quarantine for two weeks before being able to experience the pre-covid environment we all dream of. And I’ll say this honestly, it’s almost as if covid never existed here. From crowded pubs to dinner parties to shaking hands after a game of tennis – everyone here knows they’re safe.
But this island’s little bubble needs to be popped one day or another. With an economy that thrives on tourism the skies will once again need to open again and the risk returns. Uncertainty looms over the heads of the safe islanders, but I have to say, a taste of the “old-normal” was a treat I hope everyone gets to experience again.