Medical experts in Jersey are continuing to send COVID-19 samples to Public Health England for sequencing following the discovery of four positives in Jersey with the presence of the Kent variant (B.1.1.7).
Results have been received from 30 samples sent for variant testing, with a small number coming back with the Kent variant. No other variants of concern have been noted to date.
Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat said: “We have acted as if the Kent variant has been with us for some time. The patterns of transmission we saw over December were indicative of its presence.
“Our public health response has led to a rapid decrease in transmission including our stronger border policy of three tests with ten days of isolation for all arrivals.
“Our vaccination programme remains key to controlling this virus however, it remains vital we adhere to the relevant public health guidelines during the vaccine roll out. The reconnection strategy and strict controls on care home visits are an important component of our cautious public health measures.
“Both the Pfizer and Oxford vaccine remain highly effective against this Kent strain. Recent research shows that a single dose of the AstraZeneca (Oxford) vaccine, which is being used in Jersey, is protective for at least 90 days by which point the second dose will be given.”
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf said: “We have done well to assume that the variant has been in Jersey for some time. This variant is now dominant in many parts of the world, and so in Jersey we need to act according to not only what is happening in our Island, but also internationally.
“Now we have this confirmation, even in small numbers, it is even more important that we carry on with strict adherence to the public health guidelines. Our response, as always, is constantly reviewed in light of any changing situation.”
Government of Jersey News Release.