Germany has designated all of Great Britain a ‘virus variant region’, meaning Channel Islanders will have to quarantine for 14 days if they travel there.
The designation, which means a region is "at particularly high risk of infection due to widespread occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 virus variants of concern", took effect at midnight on Sunday.
It applies across all of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, British Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies.
A covid variant originally discovered in India (B1.617.1) is currently causing concern in England, but has so far not been detected in Jersey.
However, the so-called ‘UK variant’, which is more transmissible, has previously been identified locally. It is believed to have caused the spike in covid cases before Christmas. Jersey recently stepped up its variant monitoring with faster sequencing and sewage monitoring.
Pictured: Jersey recently stepped up its variant monitoring.
German government officials told Reuters that they had decided on the sweeping classification because the country wanted to “play it safe."
“In this important phase of the vaccination campaign, the problematic mutations must be avoided as far as possible.”
Anyone travelling to Jersey from Germany would currently have to isolate for at least 10 days, though this could change when the island’s new travel system comes into play this week.
The island recently accelerated its vaccination programme in response to concerns over the B1.617.1 variant.
“While there is no current evidence to show [the B1.617.1] variant has a greater impact on severity of disease, it is more transmissible and seems to be infecting more young people,” Jersey’s Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, explained.
“However, severity of covid-19 is greater with increasing age, and two doses of the vaccine offer the best protection against this new variant. The doubling time in the UK appears to be about seven days and the speed of spread of this variant, which is now noted across the UK, requires us to work quickly to ensure the appropriate action is being taken as a safeguard for Jersey.
“While there is no evidence of the B1.617.1 variant in the island, we continue to follow the advice of the JCVI to ensure our vaccination programme is aligned with the UK and we are giving the best protection to islanders.”
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