29 March 2020
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said:
Last week, I said that the Government would impose tighter restrictions on Islanders' movements when the medical advice indicated that the time was right.
That time has now come.
From 8 o'clock tomorrow morning, the Government is telling everyone in Jersey to stay at home.
Measures have already been in place for certain members of our community.
Now these measures are for everyone.
We all have the power to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Jersey. I am now calling on everyone to use that power and do something very, very simple. Stay at home.
The Health and Social Services Minister will explain why the Government has taken this decision and I will then set out what these new restrictions mean for Jersey.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf:
Last week, we saw an increase in the number of positive tests for Coronavirus.
But more importantly we saw evidence that the virus has now begun to spread within our community and is no longer confined to infection among people returning from abroad. And, as you know, sadly, we have now seen two Coronavirus-related deaths of elderly patients with serious underlying health conditions.
As of this morning, we have now conducted 832 tests, of which 63 are positive, 668 are negative and 101 remain outstanding.
This rise in positive results corresponds with the projection for Jersey by the Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat.
His projection is based on the curve that we are likely to see while applying social distancing.
But we are beginning to see significant delays before we receive our test results.
On Thursday we published some results that had been held up for five days in the UK.
The delay was due to the volume of tests being requested in the UK, which is further into its infection curve than we are.
Receiving timely results is important, not only to maintain public confidence in our projections, but more importantly it enables our public health team to see what impact our health advice is having on flattening the infection curve.
When we don't receive these results daily, we do not know what effect our measures are having.
While the number of positive tests is still relatively low, Dr Muscat has advised the Government that now is the right time to impose further restrictions on our community, to slow the spread of the virus through the Island.
This is because without timely results showing us what social distancing is doing to the spread of the infection, there is a risk that the measures are not working as well as they could.
And we will not risk lives.
We are therefore requiring all Islanders who are not performing essential services to stay home from 8am onwards.
We expect this to last through all of April.
This means that from 8 o'clock tomorrow morning, unless you are in an essential role and are required to come to work, you must stay at home.
Stay home and slow the spread of the virus.
Stay home and protect each other.
Stay home and protect our health staff.
Stay home and save lives.
Senator Le Fondré
The Government is publishing detailed information on what this means for Islanders and will be available through the Parishes and the local media.
In summary, unless you are engaged in essential work, you should only leave your home in the following limited circumstances, and for no more than two hours a day.
First, to shop for food, medicine and other basic necessities, as infrequently as possible.
If you can do any of this online, or can help others to support them staying home – you should do so.
Second, for daily exercise.
This can include walking, cycling, running, exercising or caring for animals, provided you maintain social distancing from everyone else.
Third, for medical reasons, if you are advised to do so by a healthcare worker or required to do so having called 999.
There is specific guidance for people doing essential work and they will know already if their work is considered essential.
If you are unsure, you should contact your employer for advice, or check on gov.je.
Essential workers must stick to the stay home guidelines when you are not on duty.
This is not a free pass to go outdoors whenever you like. This is not about maximising how much time you can spend outdoors or trying to bend the rules.
Everybody must play their part in limiting their exposure to other people.
We all have a social responsibility to be sensible and to follow the guidance.
This does not, will not, and should not feel normal.
This is about Islanders protecting our most vulnerable from a virus without a vaccine.
All non-essential shops should be closed from Monday.
A list of exceptions will be published on gov.je.
All public gatherings of more than two people, other than from the same household, will be banned.
Only family members from the same household should exercise and play together and parents and guardians should only take their children food shopping if there is absolutely no option to leave them at home.
You must not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home.
The majority of schools will remain closed until further guidance is issued to parents.
Those schools that have remained open to care for the children of critical workers will remain open and more guidance will follow in the coming days.
Parents and carers have a responsibility to ensure that children and young people in your household comply with these restrictions.
There is evidence that young people are super-spreaders.
If they are not staying home, they are putting the lives of their older relatives at risk.
Hard as this will be, Funerals should only be attended by the immediate family, and people from different households must observe social distancing.
Workers who must be together should be trying to minimise all gatherings and keeping to the strictest form of social distancing possible.
We are introducing these restrictions to slow the progress of this virus, to protect our Island and its health service, and to save lives.
Most Islanders will need to contract the virus at some stage over the next few months.
That is how we build immunity.
There is no other choice.
But we need to make sure we don't all contract it at the same time, as this would put pressure on our health services and would deny the most vulnerable the care that they will need.
Those who do not follow these restrictions will be putting these people at risk.
They will be costing more lives.
PLEASE think of your neighbours, your friends , your family and your Community.
This is not advice: this is an instruction which will be backed by powers of enforcement.
The police will be able to disperse gatherings and impose fines on those who flout the restrictions.
The Government is grateful to all Islanders who have been strictly following our medical advice so far and we ask you to apply the same discipline under these new measures.
It gives me no pleasure to impose such a lockdown in our Island and to restrict Islanders' freedoms, but it is now essential to limit the spread of Coronavirus, avoid pressure on our health services and save lives.
This is a national emergency.
We cannot stop the virus, so we must manage its impact over the coming weeks and months.
We have already made some extraordinary changes to our Island life in just a few short weeks, and it will be difficult to adjust to these new restrictions.
I recognise that this is a concerning time for everyone and that this 'stay at home' order may trigger both emotional and practical issues for Islanders.
A support programme, drawing on Government resources and community volunteers is mobilising now to help you.
Don't panic, maintain good hygiene in your home and, if anyone in your household develops flu-like symptoms stay at home and follow the published advice.
The Council of Ministers, following the advice of our medical experts, will keep these restrictions under review.
We are all in this together
We must act together for our Island's health and future.
The next weeks and maybe months will be hard. None of us really know precisely what lies ahead, but I firmly believe in the strength of our Island Community spirit which will pull us through.
Thank you for listening, please follow the guidance and stay at home.