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New Testing Requirement For Isolation-Exempt Workers

Critical workers coming to Jersey who can apply for isolation exemptions will have to show a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before they arrive in the island from Thursday 11 February.

It follows advice from the Consultant in Communicable Disease Control.

They can only leave isolation to go to work and must quarantine at all other times until they get a Day 10 negative test result.

Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf says it's based on the increased rates of infection in the UK and France, the risks of new Covid-19 variants, and the fact these workers follow different isolation rules than most arrivals.

"Following advice from Dr. Ivan Muscat, we have decided that critical workers applying to work in Jersey must provide evidence of a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours of their arrival in Jersey. This applies in all except emergency or extremely urgent circumstances. 

"This additional measure is intended to strengthen the Island’s public health controls at the border, while also allowing essential services and businesses to carry on operating safely. 

"Employers, including Government, must also outline the risk mitigations they have implemented in the workplace when they apply for this exemption. Since the beginning of 2021 around 40 workers per week have been granted such permissions. Many of these permissions are for the same individuals whose work lasts longer than a week."

Employers can apply for isolation exemptions 'where it is critical to the running of a service or business.'

There is more information on the isolation-exempt scheme here.

The government says the change won't come into effect until 11 February to allow time for employers to arrange the testing.

Meanwhile, retail staff now have to wear masks at work all the time.

Until now, they've only had to do wear masks when in the presence of customers.

"This small but important change to mask requirements, to capture more interactions between staff, will mean greater protection for retail staff and customers. It will also help further protect our essential supply chains from COVID-19 transmission.

"This Order has been amended solely for retail premises on the basis that many people access these spaces and entry cannot be controlled as it can in other business." - Deputy Renouf.

A Covid cluster identified in the retail supply chain that was unearthed earlier this week meant that non-essential shops and indoor recreation sites were unable to open on Wednesday 27 January as planned.

There has been no update yet on whether they'll be able to open from Wednesday 3 February, but a live media briefing will be held at 1pm on Monday 1 February on what the government has called 'a Covid update'.

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