It has now been 15 months since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Jersey.
It has been six months since we began the most comprehensive vaccination programme ever carried out on-Island. 75% of Islanders have received their first vaccination dose, and 59% of Islanders over the age of 18 are now fully vaccinated with two doses. Our uptake continues to increase week on week.
It has also been 3 months since an active COVID-19 case was last in the hospital.
However, COVID-19 has not disappeared.
We will continue to see active cases in Jersey.
And it remains a threat if not detected and properly managed.
But the threat IS being managed – through vaccination, through testing, through contact tracing, and through isolation.
And we need to balance that threat with the ongoing risks to Islanders’ freedoms, to their mental health, and to our Island economy.
We also need to proportionately balance the good position of our vaccination programme, and the reduced risk presented to those who are fully vaccinated when they are in contact with an active COVID-19 case.
Yesterday evening, on the advice of STAC and Public Health officials, Ministers agreed changes to our isolation policy for fully vaccinated direct contacts, and to extend our COVID Status Certification scheme.
Therefore I’d like to confirm that with immediate effect, the isolation policy for fully vaccinated direct contacts is being changed.
I’ll ask the Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Farnham, and the Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Renouf, to set out these changes in more detail.
These steps are completely appropriate as we see increasing numbers of fully vaccinated Islanders, and as we move towards living with COVID-19 while ensuring our resilience of our health services and the safety of our most vulnerable.
I’m also pleased to announce that we have made positive changes to COVID Safe Certification scheme.
Fully vaccinated passengers who have received their COVID vaccine outside of the Common Travel Area will soon also be able to benefit from Jersey’s scheme.
From Tuesday 29 June, fully vaccinated passengers arriving in Jersey, who have received an MHRA approved vaccine anywhere in the world, will be able to enter Jersey with a Green Light status if they have a Green or Amber travel history. This means a day 0 test on arrival and no isolation requirement.
They can also enter Jersey as a Green arrival if they have a Red travel history. This means a day 0 test on arrival with isolation until their first negative test result, and a further test on Day 8.
Also, from Tuesday 29 June, individuals with evidence of vaccination from more than one jurisdiction will be able to use it as proof of vaccination for travel, and the pre-travel registration form will be amended to allow evidence of vaccination to be submitted from more than one jurisdiction.
When we first set out our COVID management strategy we said that we were not pursuing elimination but the protection of our most vulnerable and the safety of our health services.
We are continuing to do that.
And while we are still seeing cases at the border and some in our community through close contacts, these are being detected and managed.
Islanders are remaining vigilant, accessing the COVID helpline, being tested and having their results returned within hours.
This is the reality of living with COVID and mitigating its risks.
And the greater the proportion of our population that are vaccinated, the greater that risk is mitigated.
I completely understand Islanders want their freedoms returned, and Ministers are committed to the proportionate and permanent reconnection of our community.
We will continue to look at the Stage 7 measures which we have postponed until Monday 5 July at the earliest, and I look forward to addressing you again soon on our next steps.
I want to thank all Islanders for your continued resilience, cooperation, and positivity as we navigate our way to the new normal. It is in sight.
We’ll now take questions from the media.