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ED Minister Wants Triple Testing System To End

The Economic Development Minister says he's extremely concerned about everyone still needing to get three tests when they come into Jersey - and worries it will stop many people from wanting to come here this summer.

Tests are needed on arrival, day 5, and day 10 - no matter if people come from green, amber, or red zones. That has been the case since November 2020.

More than 50,000 people have now got at least one vaccine dose in Jersey and Senator Lyndon Farnham, speaking to Scrutiny, has pointed to a study by Public Health England which has found that a single vaccine dose can cut transmission of the virus by up to half.

Senator Farnham says if we don't take advantage of the vaccine programme to ease restrictions for entry to Jersey, he's not sure why we've actually done it.

"I'm pushing to utilise those advantages as quickly as we possibly can. When we announced and we published the requirements for entry into Jersey that was generally welcomed, but there is some hesitancy, we've noticed, from visitors to come because of the requirements for triple-test.

"The vast majority of our population (in the British Isles) will be vaccinated by the end of June, every adult will have been offered a vaccination by early to mid June and a similar statistic applies to the UK mainland, with those significantly reducing the risk.

"With those facts, I very much hope we can safely reduce the requirements for entry into Jersey at the appropriate time."

The Managing Director of the CI Travel Group has previously questioned the need for continued triple-testing and also, like Senator Farnham, raised concerns that it would be a deterrent for visitors this summer.

Senator Farnham says any changes to the requirements for entry into Jersey need to happen fairly quickly to give certainty to travel providers.

"In actual fact, they're (the requirements for coming into Jersey) stricter now than they were last summer when we didn't have 85,000 vaccination injections in islanders' arms.

"In my opinion, we have to move through that period and look to safely relax those restrictions as soon as we possibly can and those are the discussions we are having now.

"We have to provide certainty of our plan as quickly as possible because at the moment, July and August bookings are looking quite strong - that's because people are booking with the ability to cancel.

"If we don't change our system, I worry that we will get significant amounts of cancellations for July and August if people are still having to triple test."

Speaking in a Chamber of Commerce webchat earlier this month, the government's interim director of public health said triple testing does inch up the percentage of protection.

Alex Khaldi said it would be 'terrible and bad for business' if Jersey suffered a third wave of infection, so one of the primary objectives is to stop that from happening.

The traffic light system for travel will be updated today (29 April).

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