Government, Press Release
Between Monday 16 August and Monday 23 August, three positive COVID-19 test results were returned following testing of persons under group compulsory isolation measures. All three individuals had previously been observing compulsory isolation in together a bubble.
Following further testing, all three have now returned multiple negative results and as such are no longer deemed to be infectious or a risk to others. They have therefore had their period of compulsory isolation ended and the Ascension COVID-19 Response Level has been reduced to Level 1 AMBER.
As with previous escalations of the Response Level, AIG will review the Response Level Protocol in light of this escalation and will report any changes to the protocol that result from this.
As ever, anyone who develops a new persistent dry cough, a fever or experiences unexpected shortness of breath should go home, self-isolate and telephone Georgetown Hospital on 66252 for further advice.
The individuals in question had arrived at Ascension on Monday 16 August on a flight from Turkey. They had previously returned negative COVID-19 test results 72 hours prior to their departure for the island.
The three individuals were initially observing bubbled isolation with others. Once the positive results were returned, each was placed into individual isolation, had their conditions monitored by medical staff and were subject to ongoing testing.
Regular testing was applied to each of the positive individuals, along with others they had previously been bubbled together with for the purpose of observing compulsory isolation.
The result of subsequent tests conducted last week and over the weekend confirmed that all three individuals were now negative for COVID-19 and as such not a risk to others. Given these negative results the Senior Medical Officer is satisfied that there is no risk to the public from any of the previously positive individuals. The other individuals in the bubble had their compulsory isolation length reset following each positive result, and were subject to ongoing testing as well as exit testing at the end of their period of isolation.
This is a scenario that AIG had planned and prepared for. Robust measures for effectively managing arrivals to Ascension have been in place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. These protocols have been developed in liaison with experts from Public Health England and are designed to ensure that any person arriving at the island is kept separate from the general public until the Senior Medical Officer can be assured that they do not pose a risk of introducing COVID-19 into the community.
Even though the three individuals which tested positive had not had any contact with the wider public, and therefore COVID-19 was contained to only within their group of person under compulsory isolation, the level of risk to Ascension from COVID-19 had increased and as a result the response level was raised. Following the negative test result and confirmation that the threat from COVID-19 had reduced, the response level was returned to Level 1 AMBER.
Is it safe for these individuals to be released?
The protocols in place in Ascension have been designed in liaison with experts in Public Health England to ensure that any person arriving at the island is kept separate from the general public until the Senior Medical Officer can be assured that they do not pose a risk of introducing COVID-19 into the community.
The test results have been analysed by the Senior Medical Officer and experts within Public Health England. Both are satisfied that the lack of virus mean that the persons in question are non-infectious. As a result, they do not pose a risk to the public.
What about the other people who were on the plane with them?
The three individuals in question, as did all others on the same flight, were tested throughout their periods of compulsory. As such, given the comprehensive testing regime in place, the Senior Medical Officer is satisfied that those released from isolation did not pose a risk to others within the community.
Therefore, and following negative tests prior to exit, the other individuals were permitted to be released from compulsory isolation in line with the standard arrivals procedures.