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No More Isolation For Direct Contacts

People who are contact-traced will no longer have to isolate under changes to the process announced by ministers.

Anyone who is identified as a 'direct contact' of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 will no longer be required to isolate for any period.

That is providing they take part in the testing process and do not have any coronavirus symptoms.

Direct contacts who choose not to be tested will have to isolate for 14 days, rather than 10 days.

Islanders who test positive will have to isolate immediately for 14 days.

The change in policy - which takes effect immediately - has been announced following days of delays for hundreds of people - including many children - waiting for an appointment to be tested, waiting for test results, or waiting to get through to the Covid Helpline.

The government initially issued messages asking direct contacts not to call them, and said the Contact Tracing Team would be in touch within 72 hours.

Then on Saturday, the authorities reported technical issues with messages confirming test results and appointments.

Parents, holidaymakers and businesses all reported the impact the delays were having on them.

The Chief Minister issued a statement promised an 'urgent review' of policies to 'achieve a resolution that minimises the negative impacts on Islanders, and protects businesses that are currently unable to operate."

The Competent Authorities Ministers met on Sunday and agreed the revised isolation policy.

Identified direct contacts will be contacted by the Covid Safe team to arrange testing  - either by text message, phone or email.

All passengers who are identified as a direct contact when travelling to Jersey will not have to isolate, but will need to follow the testing regime for arrivals.

The testing and isolation policies for arriving passengers remains unchanged.

The Chief Minister says the easing of isolation rules for direct contacts recognises the 'significant impact' they were having on islanders' wellbeing, education and livelihoods.

“Ministers acknowledge that the successful contact tracing system, which was highly effective in earlier stages of the pandemic, now needs a revision due to the high levels of protection our vaccination programme has afforded Islanders, and the risks of serious illness being much lower, despite the virus remaining in circulation.

“We recognise the significant impact that the isolation policy has had on Islanders personally and professionally, including children and young people, who have seen interruptions to their routines and education. Jersey’s COVID-19 strategy has always focused on supporting public health measures which cause the least overall harm to Islanders.

“It is a balance between managing the wave of infections and illness with the need to implement restrictions on freedom of movement, which no Government wants to do. Ministers acknowledge this change will mean that COVID cases will increase but we anticipate that the impacts on individuals will be less severe." - Senator John Le Fondre.

The Health Minister says now is the time to 'amend restrictions to freedom which are now causing more harm to Islanders’ health and wellbeing than the COVID infections we are seeing on island'.

“In the context of vaccination coverage, it is time to stop seeing the number of cases as the primary risk factor. With these changes in policy, Jersey will see a significant increase in the number of positive cases but what we must now focus on is our hospitalisation rate and protecting our vital services.

He urged anyone who has or who develops any one of the COVID symptoms to isolate immediately and contact the helpline for a test.

As of Friday - when data was last released - Jersey had 370 known active cases of Covid-19 and 3,012 people had been identified as direct contacts.

· All direct contacts currently in isolation who are awaiting test results or test appointments can immediately leave isolation

· All direct contacts who have received a positive result must remain in isolation

· All direct contacts who have not agreed to be tested must remain in isolation. If they now wish to be tested, they should phone the helpline to book a test

Islanders are advised to call the helpline on 0800 735 5566 for a test if they have symptoms of COVID-19. If waiting for a follow up test then they should await a text message, phone call or email from the COVID Safe team.

 

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