People arriving from a green zone will have to self-isolate until they receive their first negative covid test result, if politicians approve a new plan next week.
The urgent proposal has been put forward by Deputy Inna Gardiner and is scheduled for debate on Tuesday 6 October.
It comes amid growing unease about the current lack of requirement for passengers arriving in Jersey from ‘green’ jurisdictions to quarantine until they have received a negative result from their first border test.
This week, the Government confirmed that four individuals had tested positive for covid-19 after visiting the same venue - two of whom had arrived from London and made the visit while they were awaiting their border test results.
Pictured: The proposal has been put forward by Deputy Inna Gardiner.
They only entered self-isolation upon receiving their test results, which confirmed that they had the virus.
Deputy Gardiner referred to the news in a report explaining her proposal, stating: “This scenario could have been prevented by introducing a compulsory isolation period for all arriving passengers from green category jurisdictions whilst they await their test results,” the St. Helier representative said.”
Having cited an Imperial College study suggesting as many as one in 200 people in the UK have covid, she went on to share concerns about the impact of failing to enforce self-isolation on new arrivals.
“As a result of the incident involving local community seeding of covid-19 from free-roaming UK arrivals, scores of other people are now in self-isolation as they await testing, unable to work or study, and anxious that they will have unknowingly transmitted the virus further afield. The net effect of incidents such as this being repeated will have a knock-on effect on our economy, and risks increasing the likelihood of another lockdown,” the Deputy explained.
Deputy Medical Officer for Health Dr Ivan Muscat, who is leading Jersey’s response to the pandemic, said this week that compulsory quarantine would be introduced upon the average test turnaround time reaching 12 hours.
The average turnaround time for test results over the last seven days is 24 hours.
Total Tests— Government of Jersey (@GovJersey) October 2, 2020
119,106 negative tests (+818)
421 confirmed positive (+2)
379 confirmed recovered (+1)
Average turnaround time for test results received in the last 7 days: 24 hours
Further statistics are published on our website:https://t.co/fHGhj0MNED
Addressing this point, Deputy Gardiner said: “My concern is that waiting until we have a number of new cases emerging from inbound travellers to introduce isolation is not a proactive approach and risks seeing accelerating a second wave of covid-19 infections.”
Turning to any anticipated risks to the visitor economy, she observed: “We must put the wellbeing of our own population ahead of tourists. Incoming arrivals to Jersey should be expected to plan for an isolation period as part of their travel arrangements.
“During the summer, all new arrivals to Madeira were expected to quarantine for a short period until their test results were ready. These rules did not significantly affect inbound travel to Madeira nor result in a reduction in bookings of hotels and flights. There is no reason why we cannot introduce a similar system here. Ultimately, the wellbeing of our own community, and our ability to continue to work, study and see family on Island is what needs to be protected.”
Following an overhaul of Jersey's travel rules last week, green zones are now classified as jurisdictions with fewer than 50 cases per 100,000.
Previously, the threshold was 25, but the Government said that changing it would bring the island in line with European Commission guidance. They also described the move as a “balance of risk”, reasoning that there were now fewer travellers coming in and out of Jersey now that summer has come to an end.
Alongside that change came the requirement for an additional test. Green zone arrivals must now take a test both upon arrival and five days later. Those coming from ‘amber’ zones - areas with more than 50 cases per 100,000 - must also take two tests. However, unlike green jurisdiction arrivals, they are required to isolate inbetween.
The overhaul also involved breaking the UK down into lower tier local authorities.
Yesterday, the Government announced that more regions in the North of England and London boroughs, as well as regions in France, would be moving from green to amber and amber to red.
This week’s changes to Jersey’s Covid classifications of countries and regions take into account the infection rates in the UK, across Europe and around the world. pic.twitter.com/imxvTKxvHJ— Government of Jersey (@GovJersey) October 2, 2020
"In England, which is where 95% of Jersey’s air arrivals come from, the new classifications will see red areas encompassing around 3.4 million more people. This mirrors the restrictions introduced in the UK to mitigate the rise in infections there," a statement read.
"There will also be around 3.4 million more people in the extended amber areas. In total, this will see 6.8 million people living in England subject to tighter controls on arrival in Jersey. The changes will come into effect from 00:01 on Wednesday 7 October."
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