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Islanders urged to stay safe this winter

15 September 2022

​Ahead of autumn and winter, the Government’s COVID-19 strategy has been reviewed to ensure a proportionate response to expected waves of infection in the coming months.

The key messages to Islanders to protect themselves and others include:

  • Eligible Islanders are encouraged to get their vaccination; vaccination remains the very best way to protect ourselves and others this autumn and winter.
  • Stay alert for COVID symptoms. Stay at home and book a PCR test if you become unwell.
  • If you test positive, stay at home for at least five days and until you have been symptom free for 48 hours.
  • Take an LFT test before visiting a vulnerable person or setting.

To support Islanders through autumn and winter:

  • Free-of-charge PCR testing will remain available at the airport drive-through for people who have COVID symptoms or have had a positive LFT test. The self-booking system will remain unchanged.
  • Free-of-charge LFT tests will remain available for all Islanders to order online with updated guidance on use. *
  • Testing arrangements for those living in, working in and visiting vulnerable settings will remain in place, with updated guidance on use.
The continued availability of testing for all Islanders is aimed at reducing the impact of COVID this winter. As part of the continued de-escalation of measures, it is expected that the end of the pressures of winter will mark a reduction in Government-led mass testing.

Director of Public Health, Professor Peter Bradley, said: “I’d like to reassure Islanders that they will be supported over the winter as we do expect cases to rise again. It is important that Islanders continue to remain vigilant for COVID symptoms, stay at home if unwell and make use of the PCR testing that remains available to them. Taking an LFT before visiting a vulnerable person or place is still vital to know that you are protecting those most at risk. I’d also like to encourage those who are eligible for their autumn booster to come forward and if you are yet to receive your first, second, or third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine reserved for you, there’s still time to book an appointment.”

Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Karen Wilson, said:
“Continuing to keep people safe must be the priority and I would like to thank Islanders for following the guidance. This review is sensible and proportionate, given what we now know about the virus and what we expect to happen in the coming months.

“Winter is a period where Islanders spend more time indoors, which increases the risk of contracting COVID-19, and we are expecting to experience another wave of infections again over this period”

“This strategy update continues our move towards the sustainable management of COVID-19. Once the pressures of winter have passed, it is expected that Government testing will decrease in line with the approach seen in other jurisdictions.”

“We should not be complacent, and I urge all Islanders to continue following the guidance. If you are unwell, remember the guidance: stay at home and get a test and, most importantly, make sure you have your vaccination.”

*Technical Notes

   From 20 September:

  • Guidance for all Islanders to do 2 x LFT weekly will end.
  • Advice on when to leave isolation after a positive test will be simplified. 2 x negative LFTs 24 hours apart from Day 5 will no longer be strongly recommended. Updated guidance will be for positive cases to stay at home for a minimum 5 days and until they have been symptom free for 48 hours. LFTs may still be used to provide extra assurance when leaving isolation.
  • Guidance to use an LFT test before visiting a vulnerable person or setting will remain in place.
  • Staff working in ‘Safe Places’ (vulnerable settings such as care homes and the hospital) will continue to have enhanced testing regimes (including twice weekly LFTs) to mitigate against the risk of significant outbreaks and to protect more vulnerable people.
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