23 June 2021
We're acutely aware of the negative impact that isolation as a result of being a direct contact is having on some Islanders, including detrimentally impacting their mental and physical wellbeing.
So, I welcome and support these decisions for fully vaccinated individuals.
This includes a change meaning that fully vaccinated healthcare workers identified as direct contacts must now only isolate until a day 0 negative test result. They will then undergo daily PCR testing so that they can return to work in frontline health and community care settings.
As our vaccination programme continues, it's proportionate that we now afford more freedoms to those who have received maximum protection against the virus. I believe this new policy will be welcome news to many Islanders.
I want to encourage all Islanders over the age of 18 to book their vaccination. Everyone over this age is now able to book for their vaccination as this an important way to protect yourself and those around you.
The changes we have made to reduce the isolation requirement for those who have been fully vaccinated reflects the reduced risk that these individuals pose to transmission.
I recognise that this may be frustrating for those who have not yet been able to have their second dose of the vaccine, particularly younger people who have been further down in the JCVI priority groups.
We are working as quickly as possible through all age groups, but our supply is limited to the quantities of vaccine that we receive from the UK vaccination programme, and our vaccination rates are on par with the UK's roll-out. I would urge everyone who is yet to book their first vaccine appointment to do so as soon as possible.
Currently, timings for second dose appointments are fluctuating due to our vaccine availability. Some weeks the wait time for second doses is less and other weeks it might be longer, however will ensure you're vaccinated with a second before the 12-week mark.
If you're expecting a second dose appointment, you will hear from the vaccination programme via text message or email with details of your appointment date and time. There is no need to call the helpline as your appointment will be sent out as early as possible based on the vaccine supply we receive.
Jersey's vaccination programme is world-leading and we are in a very strong position to have offered full vaccination to all eligible Islanders by mid-August.
Our COVID status Certification scheme is also being rolled out successfully and at pace.
Ministers made the commitment to Islanders that everyone who received a second dose of the vaccine on or before 28 May would receive their COVID Status Certificate in the post in early June.
We have maintained this commitment and nearly 52,000 certifications have now been issued, so Islanders can prove they have been fully vaccinated.
As a Government, we are committed to putting children first. This must be reflected in the way that we manage children and young people who are required to isolate as a result of direct contact.
At the request of Ministers, STAC is urgently progressing a review of evidence policy on isolation for children and young people under the age of 18 who have been identified as direct contacts.
Ministers will make an announcement on the isolation requirement for children in the coming days.
We are working closely with schools to improve on-site lateral flow testing and will take steps to avoid our children's education being unnecessarily disrupted.
I want to take a moment to recognise the teams across Health and Community Services, and Justice and Home Affairs, who are continuing to protect our community with essential pandemic response services.
I especially want to highlight the COVID testing, COVID Safe and enforcement teams and all those working on the COVID helpline.
Their work has become the day-to-day management of the pandemic. And we take for granted that they will provide the advice we need, arrange testing and provide comprehensive results often within hours. The sincere thanks of us all go to them.
Please help the teams by continuing to follow guidance.
Please keep up the good hand hygiene which should now be second nature, complete contact tracing forms whenever you visit a restaurant, and please try to keep a safe distance from those outside your household. These small, but respectful actions are the changes we can make to mitigate the impact of COVID as we incorporate it into our day to day lives.
I'll now hand back to the Chief Minister to sum up before we take questions.