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Jersey's covid crisis sparks 'lockdown lite'

Jersey's covid crisis sparks 'lockdown lite'

Thursday 03 December 2020

Jersey's covid crisis sparks 'lockdown lite'


Jersey ministers have announced a ‘lockdown lite’, involving the closure of all hospitality and fitness venues and a 2m distancing law coming back into force, following a “sobering” warning that the Nightingale Hospital will have to open if covid case numbers continue to rise

The ‘circuit-breaker’ announcement follows Jersey experiencing its worst ever rise in confirmed case numbers in a single day, with 56 identified in the past 24 hours taking the total to more than 330.

It will begin on Friday 4 December at 00:01 and will see all hospitality venues close, as well as all gyms and indoor sport and fitness activities, potentially until 4 January.

Maintaining a 2m physical distance will also be made law again, including within shops. Anyone failing to comply will be guilty of an offence and liable for a penalty.  Alternative arrangements will be made for healthcare and school settings.

Enforcement officers will also be able to disperse gatherings over certain sizes under a new order. 

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Pictured: All licensed premises will have to close from Friday.

While the moves effectively add up to a ‘lockdown lite’, islanders are not currently facing any restrictions on the maximum amount of time they can spend outside their homes. 

However, they have been warned that, if the measures fail to bring covid case numbers under control in the next few weeks, even more stringent rules could follow. 

There are now a total of 331 individuals officially recorded as having covid, while 2,840 direct contacts are in isolation. 

Eight individuals, meanwhile, are in hospital with the virus. Six of those were in hospital receiving treatment for another condition when they tested positive as part of a screening process. One individual in a local care home also has been identified as having covid.

Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré said that the current R-rate - a figure showing the people that one infected person will go on to spread covid-19 to – was currently between 1.4 and 1.9. 

“This means each case is, on average, passing the infection onto more than one other person. This is too much and we need to introduce more stringent restrictions to protect islanders,” he explained.

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Pictured: Ministers have warned the Nightingale Hospital will have to open if cases continue to rise.

“If we don’t take this action now, we could be facing more stringent restrictions. However, we anticipate that these actions will, in the next two to three weeks, lead to a reduction in case numbers. This will not happen straight away, as a change in measures takes at least two weeks to make an impact on figures. We must therefore take this action to protect both our population and our healthcare system.”

Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf described the latest measures as having followed “sobering advice from our scientific and medical colleagues”, indicating that if the number of covid cases in the community continues to rise, “we will need to open the Nightingale Ward.” 

He explained that, if action isn't taken, by Boxing Day, one in 10 islanders could be isolating and there could be two or more people being hospitalised due to the virus every day.

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