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Warning against 'complacency' as R number dips

Warning against 'complacency' as R number dips

Thursday 14 May 2020

Warning against 'complacency' as R number dips

The Health Minister has warned islanders against becoming complacent after confirmation that the number of people with covid-19 is no longer growing at a dangerous rate.

According to a report published by Statistics Jersey this morning, Jersey's 'R' number has dropped from 2.6 to around 0.4 since restrictions began.

This means that, in the early days of the crisis, each person with covid-19 was infecting two or more people on average.

Now individuals with the virus are only believed to be passing it on to one other person - or sometimes not at all.

The ‘R’ or ‘reproduction’ number has been hailed as crucial in understanding the threat posed by the virus, how effective measures to control its spread are, and how lockdown can be eased. 


CLICK TO ENLARGE: How Jersey's 'R' has dropped following the introduction of different measures.

A number above one is internationally recognised as being dangerous, as it shows that the number of people with the virus is growing exponentially, potentially straining health services beyond coping.

While today's results show that measures such as physical distancing, school closures and lockdown have dramatically reduced the spread of the illness, Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf is warning islanders not to celebrate just yet.

Thanking Statistics Jersey for their work, he commented: “I’m pleased to see that the reproductive rate is now well below 1. The report shows the impact of the measures we have introduced, including social distancing, school closures and the ‘Stay Home’ instruction. 

“Although there is a degree of uncertainty in the estimates, the broad trend is useful to show the difference our restrictions have made, and it provides more data to inform future decision making, alongside test results, medical and scientific advice.

“As we move through the levels of our Safe Exit Framework I would urge Islanders to continue to maintain physical distance from people outside their household, as we should not lapse into complacency at this important stage.”

The news comes just days after Jersey entered 'Level Three' lockdown - the first significant loosening of restrictions since lockdown began over a month ago.

The key changes included allowing islanders to spend up to six hours outside their homes with five individuals from outside their household, provided they remain physically distant; the reopening of large retail shops; and restaurants and cafés being allowed to operate a physically-distant al fresco dining service.

CLICK HERE for a full analysis of the R number report.

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