Commercial travel to and from the island is due to begin gradually from next weekend, the Government have announced.
The plans, which are still subject to approval from the States Assembly, will see commercial air and sea travel start again slowly. Ministers have confirmed that the exact arrangements for the testing and isolation of passengers haven't yet been finalised - but they have guaranteed that they will be in place in time, and travellers will have to be patient while the necessary tests are done.
The decision was announced this morning at a media briefing attended by Economic Development Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham, External Relations Minister Senator Ian Gorst, Medical Officer for Health Dr Susan Turnbull and Deputy Medical Officer for Health Dr Ivan Muscat.
During what is now being officially described as the ‘Safer Travel Period’, travel will resume to and from the island without the need for passengers to seek special permission to do so.
In his speech, Senator Farnham said: “The number of flights and sailings will begin modestly and increase gradually – primarily operated by Blue Islands, British Airways and EasyJet and, of course, Condor.
Pictured: Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham, confirmed that testing and isolation procedures will be in place by next Friday.
“And – most importantly – every traveller entering Jersey must either participate in the border testing programme, or they must self-isolate for the timeframe specified by the latest medical advice.”
The Minister went on to explain that this period will be controlled by a four-part mechanism consisting of the following:
As part of the border management plans, Senator Farnham said: “We are already working to ensure that we can provide confirmed results to all arrivals within 12 hours. I can confirm by the time the new policy starts we will have a contract and accommodation available, funded by the Government, for those who test positive and are required to go into quarantine. We expect the numbers to be low and on an ad hoc basis, however we will have the places secured and ready.”
When asked by Express how the Government intends to test ferry passengers coming into the island as early as next weekend when, as yet there is no testing facility based at the harbour, Senator Farnham said: “We will have the time, officials are working with the Ports of Jersey to establish the infrastructure that is necessary as was alluded to in our opening statements. From the 3 July, this will start slowly and gain momentum.”
Pictured: External Relations Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, said travellers will have to be patient while the testing on arrival is completed.
Senator Gorst added that Government expects the gradual nature of commercial travel resuming will buy them more time when it comes to bringing in the appropriate infrastructure to cope with an influx of visitors. He said: “We are informed that on the 3rd we will be able to provide the appropriate testing and track and trace with the technology from the 3rd.
“But we are expecting from all of our conversations with carriers that obviously they might not bring flights on the 3rd, it’s more likely that they’ll do it through the following week and they’ll very carefully and slowly step up. So you would expect a reasonably low level of flights and boats during July, but that will increase through August providing that the virus stays at suppressed levels."
Senator Gorst also committed to the fact that a testing facility and track and trace provision at the harbour “will be in place when those first boats arrive,” describing this as “absolutely fundamental”.
Responding to a question by Express on the issue of Government-funded accommodation for those who test positive at the border, Senator Farnham said that these details have not yet been finalised – one week ahead of the planned reopening of borders.
In response to the question about the location and cost of this accommodation as well as the plans to repatriate any visitors who test positive or become symptomatic whilst in Jersey, Senator Farnham said: “We’ll let you have the details of that once it’s been finalised. Negotiations are ongoing with that.”
However, he said there will “absolutely” be something in place by the time passengers arrive next weekend and into the following week.
The plans will be debated by the States Assembly on Tuesday (30 June).
Follow Express for updates...
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.