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Jersey's borders to open next Friday

Jersey's borders to open next Friday

Friday 26 June 2020

Jersey's borders to open next Friday


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. 

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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: 

  • “clear, detailed guidance” setting out best practice for airlines, ferry operators and hotels as well as information for passengers when they arrive on-island;
  • “planning and monitoring” which sees Government work with transport providers to plan the testing programme in advance;
  • “managing borders” which gives passengers a choice to either take a test on arrival or quarantine for 14 days;
  • “close, continued tracking” which collates all passengers’ contact information to so that they can contact trace anyone who tests positive and identify anyone they might have infected. 

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.”

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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). 

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Comments

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Posted by Keith Marsh on
The over 90 minute press conference boiled down to one phrase ~ “We’ll let you have the details of that once it’s been finalised AND passed by the States of Jersey. It just gets worse.
Posted by Abe Viney on
In the past, some visitors from France have come just for the day, is it planned to ban this type of visitor? Even if a test result can be obtained within 12 hours, the day visitor will have left before the 12 hours have passed. Such visitors will not want to stay in one place waiting for a test result and there is a potential for them to spread the virus.

Also, private vessels (whether from the U.K. or Europe) want to come to Jersey and there is no fixed period for the amount of time they will spend here. What procedures will be in place to test all the boat crews and guests before they are allowed to go ashore?
Posted by Jon Jon on
Usually the french come on a day trip,so day trippers won’t be tested? I think if your travelling you get tested first in your own country,I just don’t think hoards of tourists will be flogging here.
Posted by David Eccles on
We hope you are making the right decision, in my opinion it is too early.
Posted by Jon Jon on
Seeing how the uk is going with potentially higher levels of covid,I really hope this is being noted by our government.
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