Jersey no longer has any known active cases of covid-19 – but the island’s leading infection control specialist is warning the threat won’t disappear until a vaccine is found.
Testing data released this afternoon showed that there has only been one positive result in the last seven days, with the most recent individuals to have contracted the illness showing no symptoms.
They were detected via planned screening of essential workers.
Nearly 10,900 covid-19 tests have been conducted on islanders in total, with 319 returning a positive result.
News of the number of recorded cases dropping to zero comes ahead of a States Assembly debate tomorrow over whether the island should reopen its borders to travel.
Pictured: News of recorded covid-19 cases dropping to zero comes ahead of a major debate on travel tomorrow.
Ministers are proposing to reintroduce commercial travel gradually from Friday (3 July), with all passengers tested on arrival. If they test positive for the virus, they will be asked to enter self-isolation for 14 days.
However, following questions from Express at Friday’s press conference, it emerged that not all of the testing plans had been finalised. In the wake of the plans' release, some islanders expressed concerns about more passengers flying from the UK where the number of virus cases remains high.
A group of backbenchers has since put forward plans to delay the reopening by a week. They are also asking the Government to define and monitor a list of ‘safe countries’ for travel based on their R number and testing regime.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr Susan Turnbull, said this afternoon that having zero known cases meant the island was “in an excellent position as we move into midsummer.”
Dr Turnbull went on to praise islanders for their work in containing the spread of the virus, as well as government officials, and Dr Ivan Muscat, who took on her role when she was on sick leave at the beginning of the virus outbreak.
Pictured: Dr Turnbull praised islanders for helping to stop the spread of the virus.
Describing today’s case number as a “significant milestone”, Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf went on to thank islanders “for their cooperation”.
“We wanted to prevent a significant outbreak, but we have managed to go a lot further than that, flatlining the curve by working together and following public health advice,” he added.
But, amid the praise, Deputy Medical Officer for Health, Dr Muscat, warned that the island was not yet out of the woods.
“This is an important day that reflects the immense amount of work by many people since the pandemic response began. It is, however, very important to remember that corona virus has not gone away,” he said.
“The risk of covid-19 is something we must learn to live with, unless, or until, an effective vaccine becomes widely available to protect us.”
Pictured: Dr Muscat warned that the threat of covid-19 won't be gone until "an effective vaccine becomes widely available to protect us."
He added that islanders must therefore continue observing infection control procedures, including:
Individuals deemed as “high-risk”, meanwhile, are being asked to follow specific guidance.
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