As part of the island’s ongoing preparedness measures for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Ascension Island Government (AIG) has developed the Ascension COVID-19 Response Level Protocol. This sets out the actions and public health measures that will be put in place whilst the COVID-19 pandemic remains ongoing.
Whilst some of the measures will be familiar to those who have been watching the news and seeing how other countries are reacting, these measures are Ascension specific. They have been developed with the sole aim of effectively managing and suppressing a COVID-19 outbreak on Ascension.
These measures are divided into three levels of response: Level 1 AMBER, Level 2 RED, and the most serious, Level 3 BLACK.
As the COVID-19 pandemic remains ongoing the island will remain at Level 1 AMBER. It will be necessary to move to different levels of response, as and when an outbreak of COVID-19 is observed on Ascension.
Given Ascension’s local circumstances it can be expected that the level of response will change, moving both up and down, as the situation changes. It will only be necessary to be at certain levels of response alertness as long as the criteria for these are met. As such, the level of response required to contain and/or suppress a possible COVID-19 outbreak will be adjusted as needed.
The AIG recognises the importance of sharing this protocol, its conditions, and what it means for members of the public ahead of time, to prevent uncertainty and anxiety amongst those living on Ascension.
Being prepared will allow all members the public, and island organisations big and small, to take swift, decisive and collective actions to reduce the transmission and spread of the virus, and in the process save lives.
The protocol is therefore being made public so that all members of the community are informed as to what is expected of them, when this is to be expected, and why the measures being put in place at various stages of an outbreak are so important.
The principle of the protocol is to identify, isolate and, where practical, test suspected cases of COVID-19 as soon as possible. If this is done early and successfully, it will give the island the best chance to manage an outbreak of COVID-19 effectively.
An outbreak can begin with a single case of COVID-19 before then quickly passing through a community. All measures within the protocol are therefore designed to break the chain of transmission between persons, as and when an outbreak is observed.
Whilst understandably disruptive to the normal pattern of life, if implemented successfully these measures will ensure that everyone on Ascension experiences the least amount of impact for the least amount of time necessary.
The AIG urge all members of the public to familiarise themselves with the protocol and the associated guidance, and if they have any questions regarding this to raise them with their employer.