No virus spot-checks on arrivals during lockdown

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According to a response to a freedom of information request, between 30 March – when the Island went into lockdown – and 28 May – when a time limit for outdoor activity was rescinded – 989 people arrived in Jersey, with 82 receiving a self-isolation exemption.

The response also revealed that the government had received 47 complaints about people not complying with 14-day self-isolation requirements.

The response said: ‘The Government of Jersey and States of Jersey Police did not carry out any routine checks during this period. However, investigations were carried out, resources permitting, following reports received from the public regarding parties they suspected were not in compliance with the self-isolation requirements.

‘JCIS [Jersey Customs and Immigration Service] also collected details of all passengers arriving on the Blue Islands lifeline service for contact-tracing purposes.’

It added: ‘There have been no breaches of any type of isolation period brought to the Magistrate’s Court, therefore no fines have been issued as at 30 June 2020.’

The government was yesterday asked how many people had come into Jersey from high-risk ‘red’ category countries, where arrivals must test after landing and isolate for 14 days, and ‘amber’ category countries, where passengers must test after landing and self-isolate for five days. The rules were introduced on 9 July.

They were also asked what checks – both in-person and virtually – had been conducted by authorities to ensure red- and amber-category travellers were complying. The JEP did not receive a response to these questions.

Meanwhile, STAC – the Scientific, Technical and Advisory Committee – which consists of emergency-service representatives, government officials and infrastructure providers, among others, was due to meet yesterday evening to review travel restrictions.

Specifically, members of the group were due to decide whether to reclassify Brittany – which has experienced a recent sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases – as a red-category area.

Currently, anyone arriving in Jersey from green-category countries is told to limit their contact with other people as much as possible and try to stay at home, until they have received the result of their PCR test – which normally takes a minimum of 12 hours. But, as long as a test has been carried out, there is no requirement to self-isolate.

Concerns were raised yesterday about how people from Brittany were still able to visit the Island for day trips on Condor – with potentially infected passengers moving around the community undetected. Condor is not currently offering day trips to St Malo from Jersey. Manche-Iles Express are offering day trips to the Island from Normandy It is understood that day trips were also due to be reviewed by STAC.

Before the STAC meeting yesterday, Deputy Geoff Southern, who is concerned about day trips, said: ‘I just think it is a crazy policy. It is almost inevitably going to lead to a spike in Covid over here, I think, sooner or later.

‘The medical and technical advice must surely be that you increase the risk substantially of transmission and if you really want to guarantee not having a second spike, you would not allow people to wander around without having a negative test result.

‘This is being done for economic reasons, solely, and not with regard for the population’s health.’

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