Restrictions in Jersey as coronavirus cases rise

JERSEY faces going into lockdown in early December unless urgent action is taken, the island’s chief minister has warned as he announced new restrictions.

Senator John Le Fondre confirmed the island has 162 active cases of the virus and 1,700 people in self-isolation. And so far in November about 30 cases with no clear source have been found.

‘There is strong evidence of community transmission,’ he said.

New guidelines have now been put in place, with islanders asked to wear masks indoors and reduce the size and frequency of gatherings.

There will also now be tests on day zero, five and 10 for people arriving in Jersey, more testing for care home residents and visitors and mask wearing for pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13 where social distancing is not possible.

There will be a universal closing time of 10pm in the hospitality sector, with patrons having to leave by 10.30pm at the latest.

From Wednesday the maximum number of people able to attend informal gatherings will be reduced from 20 to 10 people. Formal gatherings will also see their maximum numbers cut from 40 to 20 people.

Arrivals to Jersey will now be tested on day zero, five and ten for Covid-19. Left to right: Elouise Hargeaves, Chloe Durrant and Leisha Maguire in full PPE. (Picture by Rob Currie, 28919039)

Restaurant table bookings will be limited to 10 people and funeral attendance will be cut from 80 to 40 people.

Mr Le Fondre said they were particularly concerned by cases in people under 30 which had been spread due to social gatherings and parties.

‘Compliance to public health guidance remains mixed,’ he said.

‘We are pleased to see more people wearing masks, but many also seem to regard other important safety measures, such as restricting numbers at gatherings, as purely optional.’

That was backed by spot checks in the island by police.

‘Contact tracing also found that parties are the root cause of some of our recent cases,’ he said.

‘Without urgent and concerted action by all islanders now, we may be forced to implement short-term lockdown measures in early December. And these short-term measures could be longer term, possibly extending into the Christmas period, if this situation is not managed.’

New restrictions in Jersey means pubs will close at 10pm and older school students need to wear masks. (28919067)

He said the States had been working to suppress the spread of Covid-19 while still keeping schools open and businesses opening normally.

But now the island had entered an ‘early warning phase’, Mr Le Fondre said, so additional action was needed and more measures must be put in place.

He said all islanders needed to take personal responsibility for this and everyone should take the issue seriously.

He added that the States of Jersey would be looking at ways to target their message at young people, parents and carers to tackle the problem there.

Jersey’s deputy medical officer for health, Dr Ivan Muscat, said Jersey’s positivity rate over the last few weeks had gone up from 0.4% to 1%. And while this was lower than the UK, which sees a 7% positivity rate, there were worries it could rise. He added that a big concern was the shift from arrivals testing positive to instead seeing most cases coming from community seeding.

So far in November about 30 cases of Covid without a known source have been found so far. This compares with eight for the whole of October and one in September.

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