Jersey has hit a “critical point” in its response to the pandemic and could face a later lockdown, following a rise in covid clusters largely driven by young people partying and socialising, the Chief Minister has said.
According to Senator John Le Fondré, interviews conducted through the contact tracing process revealed that “physical contact between friends, between boyfriends and girlfriends, and the sharing of drinks and vapes, is leading to the spread of the virus among younger and asymptomatic carriers.”
Video: This afternoon's press conference.
He said: “We are now seeing cases that we can trace back to Halloween parties and this is particularly troubling, given the number of warnings we issued about keeping safe during that holiday.
“I want to address all young people in Jersey directly and say simply and starkly: you can catch covid-19 and if you do, you will spread it to your friends and family.
“You may not have symptoms, but you could infect someone that will.
“While your lives may not be at high risk from covid-19, that of your family, and especially your older relatives is.
“Please think how devastating it would be for you, and your family, if you were to infect your grandmother or grandfather and, worse still, lead to their deaths.”
Senator Le Fondré added that he was aware of house parties that have taken place and planned "beach parties", going on to emphasise: "We will be monitoring and acting when they are putting our island at risk.
"So please follow the guidelines, especially this weekend, when you might be hosting or attending Bonfire Night parties. That means an absolute maximum of 20 people at social gatherings with physical distancing of 1 metre closely adhered to."
The words of warning came during a press conference this afternoon, as officially recorded virus case numbers hit 97 and are expected to top 100 later today.
Since Wednesday 4 November, 10 individuals have recovered and 12 new cases have been identified (2 from inbound travel, 9 through contact tracing and 1 through planned workforce screening).— Government of Jersey (@GovJersey) November 5, 2020
The number of active cases in the Island is 97.
49 are symptomatic and 48 are asymptomatic pic.twitter.com/7uOy4ZHS70
It also followed sixth formers from JCG being sent home from school this morning as more covid cases were discovered among the student population.
The medic leading Jersey’s response to the pandemic, Dr Ivan Muscat, warned that Jersey is at a “critical stage” with several clusters identified.
There were 43 positive cases of unknown source in October, he revealed, stating that these were linked with a workforce dinner party at a hospitality venue and spread at a healthcare site.
In November, there have been 24 positive cases of this kind so far - these remain under investigation, but some have been linked to a party and a workforce social event.
Dr Muscat said that a lockdown may have to be considered if islanders cannot act responsibly to bring case numbers under control.
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