08 April 2020
The Chief Minister has announced how Jersey is preparing for COVID-19 related deaths, and has clarified arrangements for funerals.
A dedicated multi-agency group has been formed, as part of the Government response to COVID-19, to manage the possibility that the virus will cause an increased number of deaths. The group includes representatives from government, States of Jersey Police, the Deputy Viscount, The Superintendent Registrar, faith groups and the Island's funeral directors.
In common with other countries, Jersey is preparing to provide additional mortuary space, if required, as part of the Island’s contingency plans.
Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondre said: “This work will ensure that we are suitability prepared and that Islanders will be treated with care and dignity. The facility, identified as ‘The Sanctum’, will be used if Jersey’s existing mortuary space is not sufficient, and has been developed using existing emergency plans and in collaboration with all members of the COVID-19 multi-agency group.”
Due to social distancing restrictions and to protect all islanders, Jersey has had to limit the number of mourners attending funerals. Only small funeral services are permitted of up to ten close family members. Funerals can be attended only by family members who are not in isolation, and who are not required to self-isolate as a result of the death.
A safe distance of at least two metres must be maintained between members of the deceased person’s household and other households. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should remain in isolation.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be transmitted when groups of people congregate. However, with the above precautions funerals can continue to take place.
The Chief Minister added: “We acknowledge that losing a loved one is a distressing experience and funerals are important. During this very difficult time, our aim is to protect the most vulnerable from the spread of coronavirus. We are working closely with faith leaders, Public Health and funeral directors, to protect islanders.”
Jersey has enhanced protocols for the safe handling of bodies and dignified burials for any patients who have died, or are suspected to have died, from COVID-19.