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"We're not policing it, and we can't"

Wednesday 05 January 2022

"We're not policing it, and we can't"

Wednesday 05 January 2022

Jersey's Health Minister has admitted the Government won't be "policing" the 5,000 direct contacts of covid cases, or checking that positive cases stay in isolation until they get negative home tests. It's one of the most significant steps yet towards "living with covid."

Previously, direct contacts were required to take a PCR test followed by 10 days of LFTs at home, but Ministers last week decided to remove the PCR requirement from 1 January.

The Health Minister, Deputy Richard Renouf, confirmed yesterday the Government will not be checking whether islanders are carrying out and registering their lateral flow tests, instead relying on islanders to act responsibly.

“We won't know in the sense that we're not policing it, and we can't, Government can't continue doing this,” he said.

testing swab pcr

Pictured: Islanders identified as direct contacts are no longer offered a PCR test - unless they start showing symptoms or have a positive result on an LFT.

“We've got to live with covid in the months and years ahead, and we've all got to live responsibly. Part of that is probably going to be about taking regular tests from time to time and if we are identified as a direct contact, we will need to manage that and for those 10 days or whatever is specified, exercise that caution. 

“But that’s individuals taking responsibility rather than Government imposing orders from up high.”

The Minister said the ‘Covid Safe’ team will only be carrying out “occasional spot checks”, adding that they expect direct contacts to book in a PCR test if they become positive or start showing symptoms of covid.

“They are not going to be phoning every direct contact every day - that's just not feasible and wouldn't be our priority,” he said. 


Pictured: The Health Minister said they expect islanders to register their test results online.

“We do ask everybody to record their test on the Government portal, that is when you are a direct contact, or just taking the test regularly. In that way, the Covid Safe team can monitor some of the direct contacts by looking on the Government portal and seeing if they are registering their tests for 10 days. 

“I'm sure they will be making some phone calls from time to time, if people are not registering them, so that’s the way they will be overseeing that.”

Last week, Ministers also announced a reduction of the isolation period for positive cases from 10 to seven days for islanders who have received their covid booster at least two weeks ago, as well as those under 12, who haven’t had any symptoms for 48 hours, and have registered two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.

The Health Minister confirmed there will not be systematic checks to ensure those leaving isolation have registered their negative results. 

“There will be checks, but it won't be in each and every case,” he said. “Again, with people taking personal responsibility, only if they are symptom-free on day six and seven, and registered their test, can they come out of isolation.

“They don't need any permission from anyone to leave isolation if they've fulfilled those conditions. We have said there will be some random checks because I think that's appropriate, but it won't be the case that we'll be checking everybody.”

As of Monday 20 December, there had been around 40,720 registrations for the home testing programme, with an additional 11,650 registrations through the schools programme and 1,550 businesses.

Shortages of LFT packs affected the UK and France in the lead-up to, and during, the festive season. Some islanders reported delays of up to a week when ordering a home testing pack top-up. Government officials told Express before Christmas that islanders should re-order their kits when they have two weeks' worth of tests left in their box.

They added that there had been "isolated occasions where an address has been input incorrectly, Jersey Post are unable to deliver or the kits have been delivered and put in a safe place e.g. in a shed", and urged islanders that hadn't received kits within eight days of ordering to call the helpline.

Deputy Renouf said yesterday that the island has “good stock” of lateral flow tests to cope with the demand, which is expected to increase over the next few weeks. 

“I’ve seen the warehouse where they are piled high and I know we've placed orders,” the Health Minister said. 

“We're expecting an order to come in this week for tens of thousands, so I'm confident that we've got a good supply.”

He added that the “the best protection” islanders can give themselves and the community is to take the booster vaccination or to start getting vaccinated for those who haven’t been vaccinated yet.

He reminded walk-in appointments were now available at Fort Regent for the next few days, along with pre-arranged ones. 

He said: “It’s the best thing that anyone could do to keep the island safe.”

Yesterday, as mandatory masks and work from home guidance returned, the number of recorded covid cases in Jersey hit its highest level since the beginning of the pandemic at just under 3,500.

Numerous schools had to close to certain year groups due to covid-linked staff shortages.

Masks are now compulsory for secondary school students and staff in classrooms and school buildings, and must also be worn by primary school teachers.


Covid quarantine reduced for ‘boosted’ islanders, and under-12s

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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by Graham Nears on
Is that the new 'Island Plan' slogan? Very catchy. Depicts the past and gives a clear indication of future intensions.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Yes, you read it first hear ~
Jersey hit its highest level since the beginning of the pandemic at just under 3,500.
Numerous Schools had to close
Our older kids now have to wear masks during classes and in buildings.
All of our Teachers have to wear masks
and ...
The Health Minister, Deputy Richard Renouf, confirmed yesterday the Government had GIVEN UP ! { or words to that effect }
Posted by Jon Jon on
No need to give out figures now,those who aren’t vaccinated take their chances.No more testing needed as no one will check anything!
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