The Health Minister has confirmed that the island’s own covid testing lab will be producing results in an average of 12 hours by next week, as he pushed back on a politician’s green zone isolation plan.
Deputy Inna Gardiner will tomorrow urge the States Assembly to vote in favour plans to make all passengers arriving from ‘green’ jurisdictions – those with fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 – quarantine until they receive their border test result.
Currently, the average test turnaround is around 24 hours.
However, the Government doesn’t want to make isolation compulsory until test results come back within an average of 12 hours – a milestone apparently due to be reached next Tuesday 13 October.
The Health Minister, Deputy Richard Renouf, has now published an amendment to Deputy Gardiner’s proposition proposing that all passengers arriving from a green area starts self-isolating whilst they await their results from that date.
Pictured: The Health Minister, Deputy Richard Renouf.
According to the Government, from Monday 12 October, for the first time, all samples taken from arriving passengers will be analysed by the on-island lab, which started processing tests at the Airport in mid-September, and results will be provided within an average of 12 hours.
“The new requirement to isolate until a Day 0 negative test will help to maintain the confidence of Islanders and other travellers in Jersey’s rapid testing capacity, while also minimising any inconvenience," the Health Minister said.
"We have made this change as soon as practicably possible, once the on-island lab is able to analyse the swabs of all arriving passengers and provide results within an average of 12 hours. Announcing this now will give time for passengers, carriers, and ports to prepare for the change.”
Video: A look around the rapid lab.
Deputy Gardiner said her proposals came in response to news that four individuals had tested positive for covid-19 after visiting the same venue - two of whom had arrived from London and made the visit while they were awaiting their border test results.
They only entered self-isolation upon receiving their test results, which confirmed that they had the virus.
Deputy Gardiner referred to the news in a report explaining her green zone isolation proposal, stating: “This scenario could have been prevented by introducing a compulsory isolation period for all arriving passengers from green category jurisdictions whilst they await their test results."
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