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More transmissible covid variant identified in Jersey

More transmissible covid variant identified in Jersey

Thursday 04 February 2021

More transmissible covid variant identified in Jersey

Thursday 04 February 2021


The more transmissible strain of covid-19 identified last year in the UK is in Jersey, it has been confirmed.

B.1.1.7 - known as the 'Kent variant' - was identified in a batch of tests sent off to the UK for testing in January.

More than 30 samples were sent out, and results of 30 have since been received.

Of those samples, 10% - or three - tested positive for a variant of covid.

testing swab pcr

Pictured: Samples have been being sent to the UK since December to identify any variants on the island.

However, no other variants - such as the South African variant, which it's feared may be less responsive to the vaccine - have been detected.

The Kent variant was given its title after cases in Kent spiked in November and December, leading scientists to retroactively identify that the faster-spreading variant had been in the UK since 20 September.

Jersey has been sending off weekly samples to the UK to test for any new variants for the past month, though none have been identified up until now.

Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, commented: “We have acted as if the Kent variant has been with us for some time. The patterns of transmission we saw over December were indicative of its presence.

“Our public health response has led to a rapid decrease in transmission including our stronger border policy of three tests with ten days of isolation for all arrivals. 

“Our vaccination programme remains key to controlling this virus however, it remains vital we adhere to the relevant public health guidelines during the vaccine roll out. The reconnection strategy and strict controls on care home visits are an important component of our cautious public health measures. 

“Both the Pfizer and Oxford vaccine remain highly effective against this Kent strain. Recent research shows that a single dose of the AstraZeneca (Oxford) vaccine, which is being used in Jersey, is protective for at least 90 days by which point the second dose will be given.” 

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Pictured: Dr Ivan Muscat assured that the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines are "highly effective" against the Kent strain.

Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf added: “We have done well to assume that the variant has been in Jersey for some time. This variant is now dominant in many parts of the world, and so in Jersey we need to act according to not only what is happening in our Island, but also internationally.  

“Now we have this confirmation, even in small numbers, it is even more important that we carry on with strict adherence to the public health guidelines. Our response, as always, is constantly reviewed in light of any changing situation.”

Deputy Renouf confirmed that the island was working on the assumption the variant was here, which was informing their cautious approach to existing 'lockdown lite', in a press conference earlier this week.

“What happened after November was very serious and we’ve been very fortunate to come through that so far but we still face huge risks and we are assuming that the UK variant is in the island which enhances those risks,” he said.

7f63f0798fa1818d9c353d131f062d9a_f1105806.jpg

Pictured: Of the 30 tests returned to medical officials, 10% were identified as having the Kent variant.

However, when asked by Express if the Government would be seeking to purchase its own equipment for identifying the variant, the Chief Minister said that it was unlikely.

He stated that the UK currently only has four facilities to test for variants, of which Jersey has a good relationship with at least one.

“I think at this stage we are still doing limited testing through Porton Down,” Senator Le Fondré said.

“I rather suspect the difficulty there will be the sophistication of the machinery you need to actually get it on island - that’s not a discussion I’ve had but equally we’ve got some measures in place to try and identify and that is involving all financial solutions.

“Looking ahead, let’s just see how we progress over the next few months and how society changes, I think that’s properly a little bit too early to determine. We do have measures in place on a limited basis to get the very specialised testing done, that is off island at this stage.”

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Posted by Private Individual on
Which bit of "Lock the borders down" does this government not get!

These strains did not originate in Jersey, they were brought here by people who have travelled off-island then came back bringing the new strain with them.

Lock the borders and force people to quarantine in a hotel for the required period if they want to come into Jersey. This means EVERYONE no free passes for all the "Essential" workers that have been coming into the island for a day then leaves the same day.

No quarantine has been the norm, these people should not be allowed in, such as the workers on the Waterfront from red areas in France.
Posted by Peter Richardson on
Now non essential shops are open and there are outside queues I have stopped coming into town. The keeping to the left rule is another reason to avoid town as I frequently had to dodge people too close before but now won’t be allowed to do this.
Posted by Scott Mills on
I've heard it all now. the Garden of England now has it's own variant. I'm waiting for the St.Ouen variant. It'll be okay people, as it'll never leave the parish!!!
Posted by Private Individual on
Which bit of "Lock the borders down" does this government not get!

These strains did not originate in Jersey, they were brought here by people who have travelled off-island then came back bringing the new strain with them.

Lock the borders and force people to quarantine in a hotel for the required period if they want to come into Jersey. This means EVERYONE no free passes for all the "Essential" workers that have been coming into the island for a day then leaves the same day.

No quarantine has been the norm, these people should not be allowed in, such as the workers on the Waterfront from red areas in France.
Posted by Donal Dolo on
lockdown now
Posted by Jon Jon on
Pretty obvious there will be other variants in this Island,there’s variants around most of the world so Jersey was never going to stop that,and letting in Tom,dick and Harry into this island doesn’t help.
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