The number of active corona virus cases in Jersey has dropped to single figures, the Health Minister has announced, as the government relaxes lockdown restrictions even further.
The number of patients who are still officially confirmed to be suffering with symptoms of the virus has dropped to five, with two of those people currently being treated in hospital, Deputy Richard Renouf has confirmed during a public media briefing this afternoon.
The Health Minister also announced that the local rate of infection – or ‘R’ number – remains below 0.4.
When asked by Express how many of the active cases have arisen in healthcare settings such as care homes, Deputy Renouf declined to specify that data.
He said: “Because cases are so low in the island, there is a risk of identifying individual homes and individual patients. If we go into too much detail with the statistics, but with the number of active cases in the hospital, you’ll see are two from the information that’s been released. The number of active cases in the whole of the island are five. So, [a] very low figure.”
The briefing was held on the heels of a States Assembly’s decision to bring in a new law, giving authorities the power to fine people who wilfully disobey physical distancing rules up to £1,000. This legislation replaced stricter guidance which confined islanders to their homes at all times, except for six hours during the day for specific activities.
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, also appeared at the briefing to explain what this change means in practice.
Of the new law, he remarked: “We brought these regulations to give the Police the necessary powers to enforce safe distancing for the very, very small number of islanders who choose to ignore this critical preventative measure.
“I’m sure that these powers will only be used very sparingly – if at all – because islanders realise that it is their continuing responsibility to keep each other safe from the spread of covid-19 and will continue following the expert health advice."
It was emphasised that the new physical distancing regulation only applies to people meeting in public, and anyone meeting in each other’s’ private houses or gardens will not be liable to prosecution.
Pictured: The new law allows authorities to fine those wilfully disobeying physical distancing guidance.
Although, he quickly added: “But we continue to advise you strongly not to go into other people’s homes unless absolutely necessary, and then to continue to observe physical distancing. It is a matter of personal responsibility."
Speaking more generally about the latest guidance, the Chief Minister continued: “The ‘Stay at Home’ instruction is no longer in place. There is no longer a legal limit on the amount of time you can spend outside your home and no restriction on the reasons for being outside of your home.”
However, Senator Le Fondré also urged viewers to strike a balance between taking “responsibility to protect our community” and restoring “a sense of normality to our lives.”
He reminded islanders that the virus still poses an “ongoing risk”, warning that “we cannot, and must not, think that the risk to our community has disappeared.”
It was also said that “parties or gatherings inside homes remain strongly discouraged.”
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