Ministers decided not to impose any new covid restrictions following an urgent meeting about the Omicron variant and the UK’s tightened protocols last night.
Under the Prime Minister’s ‘Plan B’ for limiting the spread of covid, people in England will have to wear masks in most public places from Friday and use covid passes to enter nightclubs and indoor unseated venues with more than 400 people from Wednesday.
Boris Johnson also announced yesterday that work from home guidance would be returning from Monday.
He said that the "proportionate and responsible" measures were being taken because early evidence suggested the new Omicron variant of covid – of which more than 550 cases have been detected across the UK – “could lead to a big rise in hospitalisations and therefore sadly in deaths”.
In response, Jersey’s Competent Authority Ministers – those with legal responsibility for emergency decision-making – met last night to discuss whether the island should change strategy, but decided to keep the situation under review rather than introduce any new measures.
We are seeing growth in Omicron cases in the UK that mirrors the rapid increases seen in South Africa.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 8, 2021
That is why it is now the proportionate and responsible thing to move to Plan B in England, to slow the spread of the virus.
Find out more: https://t.co/bZZYbzs59L pic.twitter.com/ulvovWoL41
“At present there are no detected cases of the Omicron variant in the island, our hospital capacity and resilience remain high, and there has been a steady decrease in the total number of active cases over the past days,” Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré explained.
“As a result, Ministers have taken the decision not to implement any additional restrictive measures at this stage. We must continue to act based on our own covid position and clinical evidence, and not act prematurely based on changes in other jurisdictions.
“Ministers will continue to monitor the situation closely over the coming days, and will take appropriate action if we anticipate a significant rise in cases or hospitalisation.”
Currently, mask use is “strongly recommended” in Jersey, as is regular home testing with lateral flow devices.
Testing at the border was recently stepped up, however, with all arrivals who have been outside the Common Travel Area – regardless of vaccination status – required to take a test and isolate until a negative result.
Statistics published last night showed there are currently 1,214 people recorded as having covid – 14 of whom are in hospital.
They also reflected two deaths of islanders on 29 November and 30 November, bringing the total number of covid-linked deaths during the pandemic to 84.
Senator Le Fondré added: “I want to thank all Islanders for their continued diligence and for taking personal responsibility for combatting the spread of covid in our community. This includes the strongly encouraged use of face masks in shops, and the high take-up of Lateral Flow testing at home and in businesses.
“Approximately 50,000 registrations have been received to date across the home, school and workplace LFT programmes. Please continue to use these tests to keep your family, your friends and your colleagues safe, especially if attending a public event or Christmas party.
“Vaccination remains our best defence against covid, so please continue to support our covid vaccination and booster programme, which we are continuing to expand. If you are a young person who is eligible for a second dose of the vaccine or an adult who is eligible for a booster dose, I urge you to book your appointment as soon as it is available to you. Equally, if you have not yet received a first dose of the vaccine, please do book an appointment; it's not too late to start protecting yourself and others.”
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