Islanders are being advised to socialise in smaller groups and limit the number of large events they attend to help keep covid spread low this autumn.
While more than 90% of over-50s are double vaccinated and therefore 25 times less likely to be admitted to hospital with severe covid, the Government is warning that “this does not mean the future is without risk.”
Part of that risk is an expectation that flu and other respiratory illnesses will bounce back with vigour this autumn and winter due to islanders’ reduced immunity because interventions like masks, distancing and ‘lockdown lite’ kept them at bay last year - an issue expected to be encountered across the UK and Europe.
Such illnesses already begun to make a return, with medics observing an “astonishing” number of viral infections – including Norovirus – over summer, which put pressure on the hospital.
As a result, the Government will be offering a free flu jab and covid booster shot programme to over-50s starting towards the end of this month.
Announcing this on Friday, it also issued the following guidance for social activities during the winter:
However, in a press conference on Friday, the Chief Minister refused to rule out bringing back any more stringent measures like mask-wearing or even lockdowns should circumstances require.
He suggested that islanders' behaviour over the winter would be crucial in determining the island's trajectory.
Pictured: The Government's 'autumn ready' guidance.
According to latest estimates by Statistics Jersey, each infected individual is currently passing on the virus to around one other person.
As of Friday, the number of covid cases in the island was 236, with the majority of new cases being inbound travellers (13), followed by people feeling unwell and seeking healthcare (7) and those identified via contact tracing (7).
159 people are showing symptoms, and two people are in hospital with covid.
Last Tuesday, the Education Minister said that around 50 local children had the virus, and three teachers, with attendance in secondary schools sinking by 8% and primary schools by 6% in the first week of term.
Figures for the rest of the week are yet to be released.
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