12 March 2020
"Your Excellency, Mr Bailiff, Ministers, and members of the Emergency Council. Welcome.
Now I believe this is the first meeting of the Emergency Council for many years where we are actively dealing with a challenge to the Island, rather than preparing for one.
And I think it is appropriate to say some words of introduction.
I am certain that we all appreciate the substantial challenge to our community presented by the growing coronavirus pandemic and we have prepared for such an eventuality for some time through the meetings of this Council, and through emergency planning exercises, including the one before Christmas on influenza.
We must recognise the concerns of Islanders. Particularly as the situation is rapidly evolving.
And in the face of this risk, it is our responsibility to ensure, as a community, the safety of Islanders, the protection of vulnerable people, and the continuity of our essential services.
Let us not forget that we are a resilient community, and we need to ensure that – as a community - we all come together in facing this challenge and that, I believe, we are well placed to do.
As you will be aware, Jersey now has two cases of coronavirus, both have self-isolated on their return from Italy.
So in today’s meeting we will consider the preparations underway for a likely increase in the number of cases, and the important decisions that we must take to mitigate the spread and impact of the virus, in this Island.
Today’s agenda sets out a number of key areas for discussion, including Government planning and coordination, healthcare preparations, support of vulnerable people and businesses, travel and transport, legislative requirements, education and communications.
We have already taken actions, and by the end of the meeting, we will have decided what additional measures we will need to take to protect Islanders, and, ultimately, to save lives.
And I would like to thank you all, for your efforts in preparing the Island; in particular for the work that has taken place in the last days and weeks.
So, in closing, I would like to reiterate to members that we have been planning for this type of emergency situation for some time, through pandemic exercises, like the one before Christmas, and our experiences in preparing for Brexit over the last 4 years.
That work has ensured we are in a strong position to face this situation together and to support and protect Islanders in this challenging time.
Now, I trust that has put the context in place. Let’s turn to the first item."