New measures aimed at tackling the spread of Covid-19 will be announced this evening in a live broadcast from the Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré and the Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf. These measures will come into effect in the coming week.
Islanders are now advised to work from home where possible, and workforce screening will be intensified by testing people more often and by including more groups of workers in the screening programme.
People over the age of 70 have been added to the group of Islanders considered to be at high risk. This group will now be advised to avoid spending time indoors with anyone outside their household, whether that be at work, shopping or socialising.
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “We are seeing transmission where people are in close personal contact, in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation for several hours. Clusters are evolving from gatherings in family homes, private functions, pubs and restaurants, and ongoing transmission is also occurring in vehicles and offices.
“This surge in cases is not down to one cluster. Health officials are seeing case clusters on a larger scale, and we are worried that the number of positive cases being picked up may indicate an increase in hospitalisation as we move forward.
“In the coming weeks we will see large numbers of returning students, family members and friends visiting for Christmas and enhanced social activity. Action is needed now to protect the vulnerable, to identify more cases earlier on and to slow the spread.”
A law to make masks compulsory comes into effect tomorrow (Tuesday 1 December) at 10am. This makes mask-use compulsory in supermarkets, shops, post offices, banks, in public transport (including taxis), in health care settings and when using close-contact services such as hairdressers and beauticians.
Masks remain strongly recommended where people are likely to be in close contact with others outside their household, particularly when this is likely to be for longer than 15 minutes.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: “When we look at neighbouring jurisdictions we see more people being hospitalised and some of those patients, sadly, are dying. We don’t want to see that kind of escalation in Jersey. But unfortunately the increase in cases in our Island could see more people in hospital if we don’t all act now.
“I have already made masks mandatory and made contact-tracing at hospitality venues a legal requirement. I will soon sign an Order to limit gatherings to specific numbers. We are now asking Islanders to work from home where possible, and we are considering a change to require two metres physical distancing in some situations. If this doesn’t bring down the numbers of positive cases we may, ultimately, have to move to another lockdown. And that’s something none of us want to see.
“So please, obey the law, take our guidance seriously, keep your distance, protect yourselves and others, wear a mask and work with us to bring down the continuing rise in cases.”
Guidance on wearing masks