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Managing the pandemic is not a “competition”

Managing the pandemic is not a “competition”

Thursday 24 December 2020

Managing the pandemic is not a “competition”

Thursday 24 December 2020


The Chief Minister has hit out at comparisons between Jersey and Guernsey’s diverging pandemic strategies, arguing that it’s not a competition.

Senator John Le Fondré said it won’t be possible to tell which island has done better or worse until five to 10 years.

His comments came in a press conference during which he discussed a new set of restrictions – including the closure of non-essential shops and a limit on all gatherings indoors and outdoors – aiming to flatten the curve of infection.

Video: The States of Guernsey released a video counting their blessings for Christmas. 

Beyond the quarantine requirements for all arrivals, there are currently no restrictions in Guernsey, and none have been issued for Christmas, a fact the States of Guernsey celebrated in a video noting "we are able to enjoy the festivities in a way that almost no one else in the World can".

At the time of the conference, there were four active cases in Guernsey – a number which has since risen to eight following contact tracing. In Jersey, the latest figures show a total number of cases of 988, with 77 new cases identified over the last 24 hours and 77 having recovered.

While Guernsey adopted an elimination strategy - which Deputy Jess Perchard pledged for to achieve zero cases of the virus locally - Jersey decided to 'delay, contain, shield’.


When asked by Express how Jersey’s strategy compared to that of its sister island, the Chief Minister refused to make any comparison.

“We don’t comment on other jurisdictions, because it’s only going to be in 5 or 10 years’ time that we will know who did better or who did worse I’d suggest,” he said. 

“It’s not a competition, it’s about following the profile that’s appropriate for our island.”

He then went on to defend the local strategy, saying it had been focused on doing the best for the island.

“We’ve invested a lot in putting all the measures in place about testing, about the border controls, about allowing, therefore, people to have a fairly free summer for example. That has been part of the strategy,” Senator Le Fondré said. 

“We’ve been investing all the way through for months and months and months to then actually bring us to this place, which is we’re getting a lot more intelligence at how that virus is spreading in our community and then how we address it.”

John Le Fondré.jpg

Pictured: The Chief Minister maintains the number of cases is high because a lot of people are being tested.

Despite the worrying rising trend of active cases, the Chief Minister then tried to paint a better picture of the current situation, assuring the Government is still in control of it.

“I think we’ve got to stand back and say - 'look, our positivity rate still remains relatively low’,” he said.

“We’ve said that our numbers only look high because of the significant amount of testing we’re doing. 

“We are being proactive because we’re watching that increase and saying we think there’s further measures we need to do to keep the suppression of things in place. From that point of view, we’re all doing the very best for the island and we will continue to do so.”

The Health Minister, Deputy Richard Renouf, also intervened, explaining that Jersey’s strategy was about “balancing harms”.

“Thus far we’ve been fortunate in that the number of people needing treatment in the hospital has been low, so in that respect we’ve kept a good control on this and successfully balanced those harms.” 

There are currently 28 islanders with covid-19 in hospital, with one islander who was receiving treatment for covid-19 having died yesterday.

 

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Posted by Jon Jon on
Jersey government has lost control of this virus but will always say things are under control.Jersey went out to keep the economy running,whereas Guernsey shut down protecting people.Where Guernsey scored many more points was their chief minister De St Paer,was a far more decisive minister than Le Fondre who dithers and smiles,says everything is fine and rosy...also the lady from Guernsey dealing with this virus was first class,she was direct,spoke calmly,and reassured people.Muscat though umms and r’s ,he looks as though he’s told what to say.Guernsey wins hands down.
Posted by Sheila Young on
At times Jersey goverment have acted like this is a popularity contest, they are more concerned about keeping business owners happy than they are over the welfare of the general public. If this were not true then different decisions would have been reached earlier. If this was a competition Guernsey win hands down they have put their people first!
Posted by Simon Berry on
It was never really a choice between health and the economy, businesses in Jersey have suffered worse than in Guernsey. Le Fondre wants to live out his term in office without being ejected, that's the only reason he is waffling about it taking 5 years to tell. The truth is obvious now!
Posted by Anna W on
Of course the CM will say that because of it was a competition then Guernsey definitely win! Guernsey put the well-being and health of their islanders first and are now reaping the benefits. Senator Moore was completely right with everything she said in her letter to the CM and for him to brush off the criticism as simply a political attack just further illustrates his inability to admit any wrongdoing, what an arrogant smug little man.
Posted by JohnFraser47 on
I agree, it’s not a competition, however don’t keep giving the reason for a high number of cases as a result of us “carrying out more testing than other jurisdictions”.
Just accept responsibility for the poorly managed situation that is going on and you might get a bit more respect.
Currently you are appearing to be highly incompetent and don’t appear to care about people’s lives or livelihoods!
Posted by Paul Hadikin on
For real.its a priority
Posted by Anna W on
Of course the CM will say that because of it was a competition then Guernsey definitely win! Guernsey put the well-being and health of their islanders first and are now reaping the benefits. Senator Moore was completely right with everything she said in her letter to the CM and for him to brush off the criticism as simply a political attack just further illustrates his inability to admit any wrongdoing, what an arrogant smug little man.
Posted by Paul Troalic on
No, I agree points scoring is futile. Nevertheless if one is independent as I am, a Guernseyman living in Jersey, I feel that Guernsey has adopted a better policy with people that try and understand the problem and act accordingly.
But it really doesn't matter as John Le Fondre will never admit that his ministers have done anything but comply with the medical evidence. There really is no answer to that.
Thank goodness we can all look forward to a good political clear out at the next elections.
Posted by JohnFraser47 on
I agree, it’s not a competition, however don’t keep giving the reason for a high number of cases as a result of us “carrying out more testing than other jurisdictions”.
Just accept responsibility for the poorly managed situation that is going on and you might get a bit more respect.
Currently you are appearing to be highly incompetent and don’t appear to care about people’s lives or livelihoods!
Posted by Danny Moisan on
They keep flogging the numbers game, which the sensible among us know means absolutely nothing, 40 deaths all older people with underlying issues! yes death is sad but these deaths are from old age and should not be used to feed the rhetoric of fear. If this is a pandemic then it is a very mild one at worst.
Posted by Guy de Faye on
Of course the different approaches to Coronavirus 19 (C19) in Guernsey and Jersey are not competitive, but - if they were - Jersey had lost even before C19 arrived in the Island. That is the point. Jersey decided that money was more important than the health of its residents, whilst Guernsey used one of the key advantages of being a small Island and shut down entry at its Airport and Harbour, subject to strict quarantine rules.

Jersey's initiative was a requested quarantine (if it's not too much trouble - it's only voluntary) and handing out information leaflets to point out that a virulent and deadly virus was prevalent.
Then Lockdown - after C19 had arrived (forever BTW + endless variants). Then testing regimes and FINALLY - compulsory quarantine.

Cost so far: 40 deaths, thousands of people confined at home for months, an invoice already billed at £208Million - with a further £100Million budgeted for 2021.

I understand that life in Guernsey continues pretty much as normal (face masks are optional apparently) and their C19 website notes that the "Bailiwick Bubble" - is enjoying freedoms that other countries can only dream of.

I have been trying to find out who decided to place cash ahead of public health - Council of Ministers, Emergencies Council, Ports of Jersey (Board or Executive Officers), but - unsurprisiingly - nobody is prepared to own up to the initial catastrophic decision. Worryingly, whoever did, is still making decisions at the highest level - which should be curtailed as soon as possible.
Posted by Anna W on
Of course the CM will say that because of it was a competition then Guernsey definitely win! Guernsey put the well-being and health of their islanders first and are now reaping the benefits. Senator Moore was completely right with everything she said in her letter to the CM and for him to brush off the criticism as simply a political attack just further illustrates his inability to admit any wrongdoing, what an arrogant smug little man.
Posted by Robert Gabriel on
Whilst it’s obvious that the government have failed to act decisively enough the blame can’t all be laid at their feet. Regrettably,many islanders must also take their share of the blame.

For instance how many people chose to flout the self isolation rules and got away with it? How many islanders who were advised to wear masks before it became compulsory deliberately refused? How many islanders get together, and still do,in other peoples houses?

It’s all too easy to put all the blame at the feet of government whilst turning a blind eye to those amongst us who have wilfully broken the rules that the rest of us are following.
Posted by Scott Mills on
Greed and privatisations (ports and airport). End of. In the past, I've often heard ministers say this or that is better here than in Guernsey, seems only when it suits them. Money Jersey....People Guernsey. Fact
Posted by Steven Simon on
JLF & Co hope it takes 5 years to find out which island performed better. Here’s hoping they won’t be in government in 5 years time. Merry Xmas everybody Stay Safe.
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