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Coronavirus: plans to protect vulnerable Islanders

12 March 2020

The Emergencies Council has today met to review its contingency plans and to put in place arrangements to ensure that the most vulnerable in our community are protected against coronavirus.

In the coming days, the Government of Jersey will be issuing detailed guidance which Islanders will need to adhere to, to help reduce the spread of the virus. Due to the developing situation of coronavirus, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the Council of Ministers has decided that:

  • GPs and primary care providers will receive Government funding to carry out health checks on Islanders aged 80 and older and those with chronic conditions, who are deemed 'at risk' from coronavirus
  • non-essential government business travel is immediately suspended for all government employees
  • large-scale events and public gatherings are to be reviewed and may need to be postponed, based on health advice and the event's circumstances
  • arrangements for schools and colleges are being considered, based on health advice

The Council of Ministers will meet tomorrow (Friday, 13 March) to further discuss the actions and States Members will also be briefed.

New health advice

Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: "We are regularly receiving new health advice that that will support us in reducing the spread of the virus. Over the coming days we will begin to enact further measures that Islanders will need to adhere to in order to support us to protect the most vulnerable in the community.

"During today's Emergencies Council meeting we have decided a range of actions. I have now asked competent authorities and relevant Ministers to make these arrangements and will provide detailed advice to Islanders for them to enact in due course.

"I would urge all Islanders to play their part in doing what they can to help prevent the spread of this virus in order to protect their vulnerable friends and loved ones. Whilst the situation develops we will ensure that businesses continue, and I am asking Islanders to maintain a measured semblance of normal life and this includes taking holidays off-island. Although our priority is to protect the community from coronavirus, the Government will be looking after the interests of public money sensibly."

Adhere to travel advice

Senator Le Fondré has also advised Islanders adhere to travel to advice from the Foreign Commonwealth Office. Islanders should continue their holidays based on this advice.

Under the plans to help protect Islanders deemed most at risk of coronavirus, GPs will soon contact patients aged over 80 and those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Each individual will be offered advice on how to limit their risk of contracting coronavirus including by limiting their interaction with other Islanders.

Protecting the vulnerable

Health and Social Services Minister, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: "Although some new measures may prove an inconvenience, we are committed to protecting our most vulnerable.

"Islanders may still visit the shops and spend time outside their houses and family members can visit if they do not have a cold or flu-like symptoms. However, for some, a level of social distancing may be required which would mean they should not attend social events or gather in groups until further advice is issued. We will keep Islanders updated regarding this advice."

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