People arriving in Jersey are "likely" to have to pay for a test at the border in future, while passengers who have been vaccinated might be able to avoid the need to isolate, the Government has said.
Introducing a vaccine passport regime - which could involve people who have been inoculated avoiding the 'triple test' controls - is a priority, it added.
From 26 April, the ‘traffic light’ system will apply to anyone entering Jersey from the British Isles, then from 17 May, Jersey will begin applying the system to all jurisdictions, minus those on the UK’s ‘banned’ list.
Speaking at a press conference to announce the border reopening plans on Friday, Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said that establishing a vaccine passport system, in conjunction with a review of the ‘triple-test’ border controls, was “very high on the agenda”.
Pictured: Vaccine passports were described as "very high on the agenda."
“Vaccination passports and immunisation certificates are a key opportunity, and will play a key role later on this year,” he said. “The Economy Department has very strong aspirations in terms of maximising the potential from vaccinated persons but we want to be clear: we’re not going to prohibit people who decide not to have the vaccination.
"For them, it could just be a different process for people coming in: you’ll be subject to the testing regime, and that will either be on arrival or you could take a test 72 hours before, and if that’s negative, that could exempt you from the isolation period. That is tried, tested and safe.
“But I would like to see people who have been vaccinated to have a different process. I think there is a great opportunity for islanders to feel safe and confident because by that time, the majority of islanders will be vaccinated twice. We are ahead of the game on that.”
Senator Farnham added that Jersey‘s system could link into an vaccine passport app recently unveiled by British Airways.
At the conference, Senator Farnham added that the Government would be looking at charging for border swabs “in the medium to long term”.
“Of course, the accuracy of the tests are improving and their costs are reducing, so I think it might be possible to look at providing a realistic and affordable charge.
“There are no immediate plans but I think that is likely to be introduced at some stage.”
Chief Minister John Le Fondré added that Ministers would be reviewing changes in testing technology “in the next few days”
“If technology allows the cost [of testing] to come down, it is more practical or feasible to contemplate charging. I think you will find that happening across the world as we slowly move out of the pandemic scenario and back to some semblance of normality.”
Also at the conference, Senator Farnham ruled out the Government taking a stake in Blue Islands as a further way of protecting Jersey's air connectivity, despite it loaning the airline £10m last year.
Pictured: The Government loaned Blue Islands £10m last year and has also subsidised lifeline routes.
“We’re not thinking about it at this stage - we don’t want to become shareholders in an airline. We provided financial support by way of a loan to ensure we maintained the lifeline services and Blue Islands have done that very well throughout the pandemic.
“We are in the position of managing the loan facility with them over the next few years. They have some exciting plans to develop and grow the airline and we will be working with them to achieve that.”
When the loan was granted, the Government hinted that a convertible version was under consideration, meaning that it could be repaid in the form of shares rather than cash.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.