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FOCUS: Why the covid travel map is changing

FOCUS: Why the covid travel map is changing

Friday 25 September 2020

FOCUS: Why the covid travel map is changing


Express delves into the latest travel changes and why they are happening.

From Tuesday, the Covid travel map will change. Since the end of the lockdown and the resumption of flights and boats in and out of Jersey, Islanders have become used to the system of countries – and now regions – being classified as ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’ based the number of covid cases they have.

Each classification is based on the number of cases per 100,000 every 14 days compiled by the European Centre for Disease Prevention Control.

Perhaps confusingly and counter-intuitively, despite parts of Europe being hit by a ‘second wave’ of covid cases, including the UK, Jersey’s latest reclassification paints more of the map green. It's the result of a regions now being broken down to an even more 'granular' level.

Here, we try to answer some understandable questions...

Show me the map!

This is the way regions across England will be classified from next Tuesday... CLICK to enlarge.

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Why have more countries and regions suddenly turned green?

As predicted, winter is causing a surge in covid cases but it also means that far fewer people are travelling to and from Jersey. The tourist season has ended, meaning that most travellers are either people going between the UK and Jersey to visit family and friends, young people travelling to and from school or university or those taking short trips for business. 

The Government says this means it has therefore been able to rebalance the risk profile, in an attempt to keep air and sea routes viable while still protecting the island from covid. 

It says it has been able to do this because of measures already taken, including the comprehensive test, track and trace process, the fact that every arriving passenger is tested, because Jersey now has the ability to analyse those tests locally, that we will soon get a contact tracing app, that Jersey is not seeing a upwards curve of cases, and because we have not seen any spread of covid within the community.

It also says that its ‘granular’ approach – breaking down countries into as many smaller chunks as possible – gives it greater flexibility. This has been helped by the data sources it is relying on becoming far more dynamic and dependable.

Taking this all together, the Government say it can confidently follow the rest of Europe in raising the trigger point of when green turns to amber in other countries and regions from 25 cases per 100,000 to 50 cases per 100,000. The amber to red threshold remains at 120 cases or more per 100,000 on a rolling 14-day basis.

It also means that should Jersey’s own number of cases rise – at the moment it is 19.5 cases per 100,000 – the island will still be considered a ‘green’ jurisdiction until that number hits 50 instead of 25.

What are other countries looking like?

An overview of the percentage split of regions under the traffic light travel classification system...

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What is changing at our own borders?

Currently, people coming to Jersey from a green country or region have to take a PCR test when they arrive. They are not obliged to quarantine until they get their result but many people chose to do so. From Tuesday, when the reclassification of countries and regions comes into force, passengers from green areas will have to take a test on arrival AND another after five days, if they are still in Jersey.  

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Pictured: People arriving from green countries will have to take two PCR tests from Tuesday.

There will still be no need to isolate until test results – though once the average turnaround time for results falls below 12 hours, people will have to quarantine until they get their first negative test. The Government expect the turnaround time to reach the 12-hour threshold within the next couple of weeks, as Jersey’s own mobile testing lab at the Airport gets up to full steam.

The option remains for passengers to take a verified PCR test before coming in Jersey - provided that a negative result is received within 72 hours before they arrive. 

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