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Covid helpline team "not made aware" of border testing changes

Covid helpline team

Friday 20 November 2020

Covid helpline team "not made aware" of border testing changes

The Government is reviewing how it shares information internally after covid helpline staff were “not made aware” of the date for changes to border testing procedures.

On Tuesday, a parental campaign group that has been seeking clarity on travel arrangements for students detailed how they had tried to e-mail the covid helpline for assistance after parents received conflicting information on when the changes in testing were being implemented.

A member of the Jersey Student Loan Support Group eventually managed to find the information that the new three-day testing regime would be coming into force today (Friday 20 November) themselves, and forwarded a Government press release on the matter to the response team to confirm that it was correct.

The response they received read: “Apologies for the confusion. I have just discussed this with our Team Leader and unfortunately we were not made aware of this information."


Pictured: Changes coming in today will see all inbound travellers to Jersey receive tests on Day 0, Day 5 and Day 10 of their arrival.

They continued: “We have updated our records (for calls & emails) and will be advising people that the changes are from Friday 20th Nov.

“Our Team leader has advised that the website update will be amended before Friday.”

A spokesperson for the Student Loan Support Group expressed concerns, and emphasised the need for the Government to ensure that all its communications channels - whether the website or hotline staff - are putting out accurate and synchronised information.

“At this time, it’s important that information the public rely on for making travel and self-isolating plans is accurate. It’s very important that the staff the public contact for info and advice are first in line to be updated by those in charge of making the decisions," they told Express.

The campaign group added: “There are hefty fines for non-compliance so the public need to be sure the info they get is up to date and reliable. 

“It will also mean far fewer people contacting the helpline asking for clarification when they are already very busy.”


Pictured: Under the new rules, those coming from red zones will only have to isolate for a minimum of 10 days rather than 14.

A Government spokesperson confirmed in response to queries from Express that it is now reviewing the way in which information is shared with the covid helpline team. They noted, however, that the team is busy and therefore recommended that islanders use the website as their first port of call.

They commented: “The start dates for the new public health measures were included in a press release distributed and published on Monday 16 November, entitled ‘New public health measures announced’.  

“This information has subsequently been posted on the government’s website and social media feeds. The helpline are extremely busy, and we would ask that anyone with access to online information to please check our website for the latest information.

“The helpline staff are briefed as part of internal cascades of policy decisions. We are now reviewing how to improve the way we share information, to ensure staff have the most up-to-date information, or know where to find it, at all times.”

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