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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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Guidance for those at higher risk regarding coronavirus

People who are at higher risk of COVID-19 illness are encouraged to balance the risk of exposure to infection with the negative wellbeing impacts that prolonged social isolation may have on their mental health, mobility and general fitness. 

This guidance is designed to help inform personal decisions. It is constantly under review and is subject to change, based on the latest medical advice.

Islanders at higher risk should strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying coronavirus symptoms and if you develop symptoms immediately phone the coronavirus helpline: on +44 (0) 1534 445566. It is also vital to continue to carefully follow all other public health guidance available on coronavirus symptoms and how to protect yourself and others.

Islanders at higher risk regarding COVID-19 includes those at 'moderate risk' (previously 'vulnerable') and those at 'high risk' (previously 'severely vulnerable'). 

If you are at high risk, you should have received a letter from your GP or specialist doctor confirming this. A list of factors and medical conditions that mean someone is at moderate or high risk can be found below. If after looking at these lists, you feel you fall within the high risk category, but have not received a letter, contact your local GP surgery and ask for further advice.

Islanders at moderate risk

For people of older ages, and for people with certain medical conditions, there are additional risks if you become infected with COVID-19. Conditions that put someone in the moderate risk (vulnerable) category include:

  • less severe respiratory conditions
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease, such as kidney failure
  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
  • diabetes type 1 or type 2 requiring insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs or diet-controlled
  • problems with your spleen, for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
  • seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above)
  • currently pregnant

The way people are affected by the virus varies largely across different individuals. In terms of age, the impact will likely be most linked to level of frailty, strength of immunity and the presence of underlying conditions and ill-health, rather than a person's exact age as a number alone. Individuals should see the risk as higher the older they are, but also be aware that this can vary from person to person. For this reason we are no longer using any particular age as threshold in highlighting risk relating to COVID-19.

Islanders identified by their GP or specialist doctor as being at high risk

If you have one of the health conditions listed below, you should have received a letter from your GP or specialist doctor explaining that you are considered high risk of severe illness as a result of COVID-19 and more likely to need hospital treatment if you're infected. If after looking at this list, you feel you fall within the high risk category, but have not received a letter, contact your local GP surgery and ask for further advice.

Conditions that mean people are high risk (severely vulnerable) are:

  • solid organ transplant recipients
  • people with specific cancers:
      • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
      • people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
      • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
      • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
      • people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
      • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • people with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • people with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell)
  • people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
  • adults with Down's Syndrome
  • adults with kidney dialysis or stage 5 kidney disease

Activity risk guide

The below guidance is designed to help Islanders at high risk (severely vulnerable) and moderate risk (vulnerable) to make personal choices and balance risks relating to the everyday activities they engage in. It sets out the principles that determine whether an activity is higher or lower risk. These principles also apply to children and young people who are at higher risk.

Currently the level of COVID-19 activity in Jersey is low. This means that the chance of coming into contact with COVID-19 during any activity remains low, although some activities are considered higher risk than others.

​Higher risk activity ​Lower risk activity
​Activities with people you don't live with are higher risk. The larger the number of different people you encounter and spend time with, the higher the risk. Larger gatherings and events are higher risk.
​Activities done on your own or with people you live with are lower risk. If you're going to spend time with people you don't live with, the smaller the number of people, the lower the risk.
​Activities where you may be less able to follow physical distancing guidance are higher risk.

This becomes higher risk still if the time spent not following physical distancing guidance is longer than 15 minutes.

​Activities where you can follow physical distancing guidelines are lower risk.

If you can't follow physical distancing guidance, the risk is lowered if the time spent not physically distancing is limited to less than 15 minutes.

​Not wearing a face mask increases risk, especially when you can't follow physical distancing.
​Wearing a face mask reduces risk, especially when you can't follow physical distancing.
​Activities that are indoors are higher risk. ​Activities that are outdoors are lower risk.
​Activities associated with increased production of respiratory droplets, such as singing, shouting, coughing or breathing heavily are higher risk, when done amongst a group of people.​Activities associated with less respiratory droplet production, such as normal speech, are lower risk.
​Activities where you will have to touch surfaces or items that people you don't live with have also touched, are higher risk.

This risk is lowered when you follow good hand hygiene guidance such as washing your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitiser(with 60 to 70% alcohol content).

​Activities where you won't have to touch surfaces or items that people you don't live with have also touched, are lower risk.

Following good hand hygiene guidance, such as washing your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, or using hand sanitiser(with 60 to 70% alcohol content) further lowers risk.

Activity risk guide for print

Kids activity risk guide for print

Activity guidance

The below outlines guidance on specific activities to assist Islanders at higher risk in making their own personal decisions.

Physical distancing

If you are at high or moderate risk, you should carefully physically distance from those you do not live with, whatever activity you are doing.

You may choose to have a small number of family, co-workers, or friends who you do not maintain physical distancing with. However, it's strongly advised to keep the number of people you have physical contact with low.

Islanders at high risk are advised to stay 2 metres from others where this is possible, rather than 1 metre.

Education and Children

Children and young people at high and moderate risk are encouraged to attend school. Children at high risk, or their parents, who feel it is not safe to return to school, due to a child or young person's particular circumstances or medical condition, are advised to contact their child's specialist doctor to discuss their situation. If it's decided, following discussion between the doctor, child and parents or guardian, that the risk of returning to school outweighs the benefits, then the child is not expected to return. Children at higher risk should be cautious to follow physical distancing and other public health guidance and advice while they are at school, where they are able to understand and follow this.

All other public health advice for Islanders at high risk also applies to children and young people in these categories.

Business and returning to work

Islanders at moderate risk should be confident to return to most workplaces, as many have already done. Employees and employers are encouraged to discuss how to enable those at moderate risk of illness from COVID-19 to resume work confidently - including discussing additional mitigations where needed and possible, or enabling them to continue to work from home.

Those in the high risk category who are fit and healthy continue to be encouraged to take a risk-informed decision on whether to return to a workplace based on their particular circumstances. Again, employees and employers are encouraged to discuss how to enable those at high risk of illness from COVID-19 to resume work confidently. Islanders at high risk may choose to explore options of changing their working pattern or role with their employer, for example if their work requires them to interact with many people where physical distancing is not possible.

Islanders who are concerned that they cannot return to work safely, owing to their individual circumstances or medical condition, are advised to contact their GP or medical consultant for advice.

Shopping, dining and leisure

Those at high and moderate risk are encouraged to continue to be cautious to follow public health prevention guidance, but to enjoy indoor activities, such as visiting a pub or restaurant or going shopping, where this is right for their own health and wellbeing.

Visitors in your home

If you are at high or moderate risk, any essential care or services delivered in your home should continue. If it is not essential, generally it remains safer to limit the number of people visiting, and to limit visiting the homes of others. 

Visitors should be careful to follow public health information and advice, such as washing their hands when they enter your home, and should stay away if they have any symptoms of COVID-19. It’s also recommended that visitors wear a mask when inside your home, particularly if you are at high risk.

Health and dental care


Islanders at high and moderate risk should attend any medical appointments they have and seek medical advice and support where needed, whether this is COVID-19 related or not. Those at higher risk do not need to worry about additional COVID-19-related risk when attending the hospital and should not avoid seeking treatment.

Pregnant women should continue to receive their antenatal care and can contact a midwife at the Bridge +44 (0) 1534 449139 or the Antenatal Clinic +44 (0) 1534 442495 in the hospital if they have any concerns.

Guidance on pregnancy and breastfeeding


Many other countries do not have the very low risk of exposure to circulating COVID-19 that Jersey currently has. Those at high and moderate risk are encouraged to make careful decisions about travel off-island, balancing the need to visit friends and relatives and enjoy leisure trips, with the risks of travel to places where there is increased viral activity. Appropriate travel insurance should be secured.

Public transport should be avoided where possible, as it may be more difficult to practice physical distancing. Car-sharing with those from different households should also be avoided, unless this is with a small number of people chosen to have physical contact with. Where these activities are unavoidable, it's even more important to follow public health prevention measures, such as using hand sanitiser and wearing a mask.

Gatherings and events

Those at high and moderate risk are encouraged to be mindful of the risks of attending larger gatherings. The larger the number of people present, the higher the risk, and so it is advised to avoid larger groups in general, and events where it might be more difficult to be physically distanced from others.

Activity risk guide for print

Kids activity risk guide for print

Support and resources

It is normal to feel anxious about changes in guidance, or returning to your workplace or other aspects of daily life, while we are still living with COVID-19. 

Connect Me offers information, help and support for Islanders around finances, family, mental and physical health and wellbeing, and other needs.

To find out what support is available you can:

  • visit the Connect Me webpage
  • phone the coronavirus helpline on +44 (0) 134 445566
  • call your Parish Hall and ask about Connect Me

COVID-19 FAQs for patients on the Primary Care Body website

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