16 June 2020
The Minister for Health and Social Services has received a report from the Medical Officer of Health (MoH) which advises that the existing regulations in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 should be maintained. This is the first of the regular MOH reports that were agreed as part of the COVID-19 Safe Distancing regulations, which were approved by the States Assembly on 28 May.
The MoH is required to submit a report every two weeks to outline any current changes in the risk of spread and any anticipated changes to measures.
Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, said: “During this early phase of our entry into level 2, it is recommended that the current safe distancing regulations and associated offences are maintained. It is anticipated that, if Covid-19 cases remain low, physical distancing could be reduced to 1 metre and the associated offences relaxed.”
The Minister for Health and Social Services has issued a statement in response to the report. Deputy Richard Renouf said: “When we introduced Level 2 measures on 12 June, we relaxed some of the measures introduced to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“While I am keen to get back to as normal a way of life as possible, we must take care to look after Islanders’ health and wellbeing as we proceed through the safe exit programme. So, we agreed to review how this relaxation has affected the rate and risk of spread of Covid-19.
“I am pleased to see that, while there has been a small increase in the number of known active cases, this is to be expected with an increase in testing capacity, and the MOH has reassured us that the small rise in cases should not be construed as significant or unexpected.
“Dr Muscat anticipates that, if rates remain low, we may be able to move to 1 metre distancing and suspend the offences relating to 2m physical distancing after the next report.
“I have asked the MOH for evidence on the safety of 1 metre distancing, information about any changes in transmission since we moved to Level 2, the potential effect of lifting travel restrictions and the impact on children and their wellbeing.
“I thank the Medical officer of Health for this first report and I await further updates in the second report.”
The next report from the Medical Officer of Health will be presented to the Minister for Health and Social Services by 25 June at the latest.
Medical Officer of Health Report
Minister for Health and Social Service response