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Statement from Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat

17 February 2021

As our active COVID-19 case numbers steadily decrease and restrictions are gradually relaxed, we are asking everyone to ‘keep your guard up’.

It remains vital for all Islanders to continue following current public health guidelines, which we must remember, include the avoidance of household mixing. This will help ensure that schools remain open and our vaccination programme is successful.

Significant public health guidelines remain in place because COVID-19 has not gone away and indeed on some days we are seeing more new cases than recovered cases. This means that the virus is still spreading in the community. 

Restrictions have been eased because of the good public adherence we have seen so far but if adherence drops, the measures will have to tighten up again. Additionally, we are aware that the highly transmissible Kent variant is very much with us and this can spread far more quickly than the original strain.

Islanders should remember to keep themselves, their family, and their friends safe as we continue to protect those most vulnerable from this virus. We all have a social responsibility to do this particularly while the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out.

It is sensible to assume we will see some rise in case numbers in the coming week due to the upward pressure of people mixing in hospitality and the resumption of some sports activities. But these are controlled environments and we have robust mitigations to limit spikes as we have done in other controlled environments like schools and non-essential retail.

Household mixing is not safe at this time because there are no mitigation measures we can put in place in private homes. I would very strongly recommend sticking to meeting friends outdoors and avoid household mixing in private gardens which are usually smaller or can increase the risk of indoor mixing should the weather change.

Remember to stick to the simple rules. They may be simple, but they are most effective: Wash your hands, wear a mask, and keep your space.

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