Statement on Changes to Covid Isolation
The situation over the last few weeks regarding contact tracing and the mass isolation of children and adults highlighted the need for clear decision making. We are entering a new phase of the Covid pandemic where the vaccination of large numbers of our population is affording increased protection. Therefore, increased freedom of movement is welcomed. However, we must express the following concerns that need to be addressed.
Children are not vaccinated. Although it appears that they suffer least from Covid infection, there is little data or certainty over the long term impacts of even mild infection on this age group.
It does appear that the government is pursuing a “herd immunity” approach for children. The Government of Jersey needs to be transparent about this and give clarity over the final expected outcomes of allowing children to be widely exposed to Covid.
Most young adults have not been fully vaccinated, but may still be required to work in an environment where they are now more likely to encounter people who have Covid, due to the relaxation in isolation requirements.
There may now be many young adults working in front-line roles who could come into close contact with children who have been exposed to Covid. The government must explain what measures are in place to protect these people, given that many of them will not have been vaccinated yet.
There must be more clarity on what those who have not been vaccinated do in terms of avoiding infection. Will we have members of our community needing to isolate?
Clarity is needed over what those who are direct contacts do before returning to work where there is no capacity to work from home as they wait for a test result. Particularly in customer direct facing occupations where mask wearing is no longer mandatory.
It was made clear that there is an expectation of increasing covid numbers and subsequent hospitalisation. This appears to be of an acceptable level for government. What level of hospitalisation is acceptable needs to be made clear.
The impact for Jersey of large infection numbers for travel to other jurisdictions needs to be made clear. Should we be classified as red by other countries, what will this mean for those returning to or hoping to travel from Jersey.
What concerns have been raised during discussions of the development of further variants should we allow cases to grow exponentially?
Should we move to the final stage of restrictions on 15th July, we would expect the States sitting to be back to in person sittings.
We hope that this decision will not cause long term issues for any section of our community due to a rushed decision caused in part from a failing of the contact tracing system. We urge the Government to be proactive in responding to any changes that come from the removal of restrictions.