Friday, 5 November 2021 – WINTER STRATEGY STEP 1
Islanders strongly advised to get vaccinated, wear face coverings and increase lateral flow testing
Ministers are calling on Islanders to begin taking additional precautions this winter, as part of Step 1 of Jersey’s COVID-19 Winter Strategy. The recommendations follow advice from Public Health and consultation with the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC).
Ministers are asking Islanders not to be complacent, despite the high levels of uptake in vaccination among older Islanders, and reminding Islanders that COVID-19 continues to pose a risk as the number of cases continue to rise.
The following measures are being strongly recommended to Islanders from today:
- to get themselves and their family members vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu as soon as possible – as it is not too late to get first doses and begin to receive protection
- to know their COVID-19 status, by increasing the frequency of lateral flow testing (LFT), before meeting other people, attending parties and large events, or going into educational or health settings
- to wear face coverings in indoor public settings whenever it is practical – this includes in shops, when not eating or drinking in restaurants or bars, and anywhere indoors where distancing cannot be guaranteed or where there is poor ventilation.
Islanders are being reminded to know their COVID status by taking an LFT test before attending bonfire celebrations this weekend, and if Islanders cannot distance properly from people, or are meeting indoors, then to wear a face mask.
Ministers will also be progressing work to explore options on the operational delivery of COVID vaccinations for key populations, ensuring the vaccine is as accessible as possible for all eligible groups.
Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “We will have all noticed, with the clocks going back and the weather getting colder, that we are heading into the winter months. This means we all need to take extra precautions together when it comes to COVID and the safety of Islanders.
“If we all take on these extra precautions as we go about our day-to-day lives, we should be able to sustain the excellent progress we have made so far. It is really down to Islanders taking personal responsibility for keeping themselves and the community safe.”
Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: “The recommendations we are making means that together, as a community, we should step up our personal efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“Before you go out to bonfire celebrations this weekend make sure you know your COVID-19 status by taking an LFT, and if you cannot distance properly from people, or are meeting indoors, then please wear a face mask.
“So far 10,000 Islanders have signed up for the LFT Home Testing Programme and Islanders can still sign up on gov.je to receive free testing kits posted to their homes.”
Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, said: “We all recognise the risks that the winter months bring, and there is an expectation that there will be another wave of COVID-19 infection over the winter period, in addition to flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) being in co-circulation. The latest epidemiological evidence is showing both a rise in the number of COVID cases and in the rate of growth in cases, with much of the recent increase in positive cases being in clusters and in the young population aged under 18.
“Alongside the general public health guidance that we have all come to know well, such as regularly washing your hands, it is important that Islanders come forward for both flu and COVID vaccination if they are eligible to do so. An increase in the COVID vaccination amongst younger Islanders will give these Islanders the important protection they need as well as helping to reduce onward transmission. Additionally, due to waning vaccine protection, it is important that those Islanders eligible for a booster dose, book an appointment as soon as possible to give themselves good protection over the winter months.”