Jersey tops 1,000 known active cases – as whole of the UK is made a red travel zone

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The total reached 1,019 on Monday, as it was announced that two more people have died in hospital.

Meanwhile, people travelling from the UK are to be classed as ‘red’ arrivals – requiring a minimum ten-day isolation period.

Jersey has faced growing calls to restrict movement into the Island amid a surge of Covid-19 cases and reports of a new strain of the virus in the UK.

And from this morning, the entirety of the UK will be classed as red. The government introduced a traffic-light system for arrivals earlier this year, with differing isolation periods depending on whether someone has travelled from a green, amber or red zone.

Chief Minister John Le Fondré said yesterday: ‘As a precautionary measure, and based on scientific advice, we will be classifying all UK arrivals as red.

‘This will include anyone going to the UK for a day trip. This will be in place for at least a week. We will not be hard-closing our border due to our ongoing need to send patients to the UK and to allow residents home to Jersey.

‘Patient treatment will continue, and Islanders won’t be left stranded in the UK, but everyone arriving will need to be tested three times and stay in isolation until their day-ten negative.’

The changes came into effect at midnight yesterday. Arrivals from red zones are required to be tested on arrival, on day five and again on day ten. Only after receiving a third negative test result would they be allowed out of isolation.

Deputy medical officer of health Dr Ivan Muscat said: ‘There is strong evidence to support that the new variant in the UK does not affect the severity of symptoms or responsiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine.

‘New mutations and strains of Covid-19 develop continually, which is normal for these types of viruses. It is thought that at least nine strains are currently active in the UK.

‘However, the NHS England Chief Medical Officer has estimated a 70% increase in transmission as a result of this mutation with a 0.4 increase in the R-rate which we need to respond to. We are working with the UK to establish whether Jersey has this new strain.’

Yesterday, Reform Jersey party leader Senator Sam Mézec wrote an open letter to the Chief Minister criticising his Covid-19 strategy.

In it, he said: ‘This must include the ending of all non-essential travel and requiring all arrivals to abide by stricter requirements, without exemption.’

He added that the policy so far had not worked and warned: ‘A failure to deal with this now would mean more Islanders unnecessarily facing hardship.’

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