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Speech by the Minister for Health and Social Services on a Safer Summer

13 July 2021

I know that the delay to the Stage 7 reconnection will be frustrating to some Islanders, but this pause will provide valuable time to further rollout our vaccination programme, ensuring as many Islanders as possible are fully vaccinated and protected from COVID-19.

Our latest figures show that 57,000 Islanders have now been fully vaccinated, with a further 15,000 Islanders having had their first dose. As we have said many times before, getting vaccinated is one of the MOST important things you can do to protect yourself, and those around you, from COVID-19.

Whilst it will not entirely stop the spread of COVID, the risk of becoming severely ill is reduced significantly and our low hospitalisation rate is testament to that.

Pausing the Stage 7 reconnection will mean that even more Islanders are fully vaccinated and have that important layer of protection against the effects of COVID-19.

At the same time, we are also reminding Islanders of the importance of adhering to public health prevention guidance.

This includes a strong recommendation for the wearing of masks when in indoor public places.

Masks remain mandatory for Islanders over the age of 12 years old when using public transport, or inside the bus station, airport, and harbour, but in other places where masks are not presently required by law, we are encouraging Islanders to wear a mask in places where physical distancing is difficult.

Ministers have also decided to provide new Public Health guidance to direct contacts.

Earlier this month, we announced that Islanders who are direct contacts would not be asked to isolate if they are taking part in the testing programme, and this will not be changing.

However, we want to urge those Islanders who are direct contacts, especially if you have a positive case in your household, to think very carefully about the activities you undertake and the settings you visit.

If you are waiting for your second or third negative test result, please work from home if you can, don't attend an appointment with your Dentist or GP unless it's urgent, try to minimise social contact and avoid busy or crowded public spaces

We are also asking all those who are direct contacts to avoid visiting patients in the Hospital or residents in care homes except in special circumstances.

If you can stay home, please do so and if you feel unwell at all or begin to show any symptoms of COVID you should call the helpline immediately.

Please don't call the helpline if you think you might be a direct contact – our contact tracing team will contact you directly. Please take care, but be patient as we will be in contact with you if you are a direct contact.

We all have a duty to one another and to our wider community. Please be safe and act responsibly. Whether it's taking that extra time to use hand sanitiser or ensure your hands are washed thoroughly or thinking about the ventilation of your home when you have visitors.

We must keep our guard up; many of the worst effects of COVID-19 have been mitigated and we do have a strong layer of additional protection in the form of our vaccine programme.

Please keep doing your part to keep your colleagues, your friends and family and yourself safe!

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