Tones & I

Dance Monkey

Other Lockdowns 'Should Encourage Us To Take Pre-emptive Measures'

The Health Minister insists more and more people are wearing masks inside public spaces - and the new campaign to encourage it is working.

It's still strongly recommended that people wear face coverings in the likes of shops, public transport, and supermarkets.

Many islanders are calling for it to be made mandatory - Deputy Richard Renouf says law-drafting is ongoing.

"For now, it is very strongly advised and we are seeing a take-up because I believe people are understanding that message.

"Yes, it's not universal, I agree, but more and more people are wearing masks in the venues we asked them to."

Deputy Renouf told Channel 103 last week that a law to give the government powers to make it mandatory would be lodged within days. That is yet to happen.

Deputy Medical Dr. Ivan Muscat, who was wearing a mask in this morning's press conference has called on islanders to wear them.

"The more noise that we make about the importance of wearing masks, that we make about the importance of public health measures as a whole, the more the uptake will be.

"Looking at the lockdown the United Kingdom has gone into, looking at the lockdown France went into beforehand, should surely encourage us to take preemptive measures to avoid us going down the same route."

A series of topics were covered by Deputy Renouf and Dr. Muscat following the official launch of the government's Winter Programme, which includes testing thousands of the local workforce. You can read more about that here.

Testing

There was criticism over the weekend after St Lawrence Deputy Kirsten Morel revealed that a friend had tested positive for Covid-19, two weeks after he phoned the helpline with symptoms and didn't get tested.

Dr. Muscat says the people on the helpline follow the guidance - but admits that now we're in the winter, they should be 'more inclined' to test people, even if they don't meet the criteria for testing.

He also revealed that they were unable to find a source of infection for two people, despite intensive contact tracing investigations. They have therefore been concluded as cases of unknown source.

"There are a number of other cases which are currently still being actively investigated and where therefore we can't come to a conclusion as to whether they will eventually turn out to be arrivals-related or not."

Deputy Renouf has asked anyone who feels like they should be tested and haven't should get in contact with the Health Department.

Isolation rules for day-trippers

The current rules for isolation state that people who spend the night in a certain country, region, or department will be subject to the isolation rules on return.

Day-trippers therefore will not be eligible to isolate for 14 days, even if they go to a red area, because they didn't spend the night there.

Deputy Richard Renouf says their procedures are always under review.

"In order to communicate a strategy and have it workable, you have to have some rules around it and the decision was taken to use that way you spend the night as the way we would control, and we have successfully controlled the spread in the island with limiting those numbers and making sure those who do come in and test positive are isolated, we are always looking at different and better ways to keep islanders safe and we will keep that under review.

"We are going to see far fewer people travelling in the next few weeks, we also don’t know what the travel operators will be doing with the lockdown in UK so we must concentrate our efforts on our on island measures and a lot less focus on the boarders in the next coming weeks, and really look at what we're doing amongst ourselves, protecting each other when we’re out and about, around the shops, that should be the emphasis."

Dr. Muscat says they are considering changing quarantine rules, now that there is increased availability for testing.

"We have to be dynamic in our response and as things change around us or internally we need to change with it, so at the moment people who have a day trip to the UK which is largely the bark of travel then they manage as green cases when they return and have a swab on return and isolate until the returns come back but not for their day 5 test.

"We will be looking at hope we manage as we go forward and one of the things that may change for the better is increased availability for testing and that might also affect the degree of quarantine people may have to take when they return to the island, I’m not promising that that is definitely going to happen but it is one of the things we are looking at at the moment."

Students returning from overseas

A survey is underway to understand what Jersey students' travel plans are over the festive period and when they are travelling to return to Jersey, if they intend to.

Are you a student who will be returning to Jersey over the Christmas period? Complete our survey to enable Jersey to...

Posted by Government of Jersey on Friday, 30 October 2020

Concerns have been raised from some parents and the Student Loan Support Group about how students will get back, especially with England going into lockdown and flights becoming less frequent and more expensive.

Deputy Renouf says they are committed to taking care of their students and bringing them back if that is what they want to do.

"We have gone out to ask students what their plan are so we have an idea of how many wish to come back and plan accordingly and there is a lot of work going on to try and ensure that we can do this in a safe way but we are not yet in the position to announce precise measures but we are very conscious of the fact that this is an issue and we are addressing it.

"It won’t get too late, we will be announcing what we plan to do and those plans are being worked up at the moment."

Self-testing

During a press conference a few months ago, the idea of self-testing was brought to light: specifically saliva testing. 

When asked about the possibility of introducing self-testing kits, Dr. Muscat says they continue to look at all the new technologies, including saliva testing.

"It has many benefits, it's easier to collect a sample, the technology that goes with saliva testing is very good indeed from what I can gather, so we are looking at those newer forms of testing.

"How we deploy them depends on the particular circumstance that we find ourselves in not just in terms of the epidemiology of the disease at the time but also of course the specifics of the tests as well, we are looking at that."

He says they cannot give any dates of introduction any time soon, but they are looking at "new technologies and will continue to do so".

Christmas Celebrations

The Health Minister says it's going to be 'a very different Christmas'.

A task group is being set up to give advice and support to those organising key events such as church services, carol singing, school events and Christmast light switch-ons.

Health Minister Richard Renouf says their priority is to make sure we are united with family during the holiday.

"It's going to be a different Christmas, but we want to ensure that we can celebrate Christmas with our families, I personally doubt that there will be large gatherings, gatherings are limited to 40 at the moment on an organised basis, and I don’t think that’s going to change."

The Health Minister says he believes islanders will still be able to visit those in care homes.

"We want care homes to remain open and for families to be able to visit their loved ones there, that's what’s happening at the moment in a controlled way to keep them safe and I trust that we won't need to change that, so that can still happen at Christmas."

Overall guidance for the holiday will be released closer to the time.

More from Jersey News

Weather

  • Sat

    13°C

  • Sun

    12°C

  • Mon

    11°C

  • Tue

    12°C

  • Wed

    11°C

Island FM VIP

Get more with the Island FM VIP!

Stay Tuned

Never miss a moment from Island FM.

  • Available on the App Store
  • Available on Google Play
  • Just ask Amazon Alexa