20 January 2022
Competent Authority Ministers have agreed to update the isolation policy for positive cases which will allow Islanders to start lateral flow testing earlier in their isolation:
- fully vaccinated Islanders can start lateral flow testing from day 5 instead of day 6 of isolation
- non-fully vaccinated Islanders can start lateral flow testing from day 7 of isolation
- all children aged 11 and under can start lateral flow testing from day 5 of isolation.
This decision follows advice from Public Health in consultation with the Scientific Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) and comes into effect immediately. The Contact Tracing Service will update those currently isolating after a positive test with the changes.
Both fully vaccinated and non-fully vaccinated Islanders will be able to leave isolation early if:
- have two negative LFT results in a row, at least 24 hours apart, from either day 5 onwards or day 7 onwards depending on vaccination status
- the two negative test results have been submitted on the testing portal at gov.je.
Ministers are considering the easing of further COVID-19 measures, on the advice of Public Health in consultation with STAC, and will be making a further announcement soon.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: "The isolation policy requires a balance of harms approach, balancing the impact to society and the individual against the benefits of reduced transmission. As anticipated, the recent widespread community transmission because of the Omicron variant resulted in a large number of Islanders isolating.
"This immediate update to the isolation policy will mean that Islanders who meet the criteria are able to leave their isolation early, however, they are recommended to be cautious over the following days after leaving isolation.'
Deputy Medical Officer for Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, said: "Allowing Islanders to test themselves earlier in their isolation benefits both the health and wellbeing of individuals and the community as a whole.
"Current evidence shows that viral infection reduces quicker in those who are fully vaccinated, and the risk of spreading the virus to others is highest at the start of infection or just after the onset of infection. Therefore, it is appropriate that fully vaccinated Islanders are able to start testing themselves from day 5 whereas those who are not fully vaccinated may start testing themselves from day 7.
"As always, I strongly encourage all Islanders to ensure they are up to date with their vaccination schedule by getting their booster doses or second doses. If you have not yet had your first vaccination, it is not too late, your vaccine is waiting for you. Walk-ins are available until the end of this month, so you can get your first, second or booster dose at the Vaccination Centre without a booked appointment."