THE Island’s director of Public Health has sought to reassure Islanders, as the government scales back its response to the pandemic.
Professor Peter Bradley’s comments came after 15 deaths were recorded for January in the last set of Covid statistics, while hospital admissions rose until reporting was discontinued recently.
Asked whether severity of illness remained a concern, Professor Bradley said they would continue to support Islanders who felt unwell or had concerns about the virus.
The government recently announced an end to PCR testing, the closure of the Covid helpline and the deactivation of the Jersey Covid alert app as it moves from an emergency response.
Professor Bradley said: ‘As seen this winter, we expect to continue experiencing waves of Covid-19 infection, particularly in the colder months. The predominant Omicron variant, and sub-variants of it, have been shown to result in less severe illness than earlier variants of the virus.
He added: ‘The vaccination programme has also significantly reduced the impact of Covid-19 in terms of serious illness and deaths.
‘Nevertheless, Covid remains with us and has the potential to result in significant disruption, serious illness, and death, particularly for more vulnerable Islanders. For this reason, we continue to monitor Covid-related information and evidence regularly and ask Islanders to continue to follow Public Health guidance.’
The Island’s updated approach to Covid brought it into ‘closer alignment’ with England and the devolved UK administrations, said Professor Bradley.
He added: ‘Epidemiologically, Jersey has tended to broadly follow the pattern of waves of infection seen in the UK.’
Professor Bradley said: ‘Our priority is and always will be the health and safety of Islanders and these changes continue our move towards the sustainable management of Covid-19.
‘I want to reassure Islanders that they will continue to be supported if unwell or concerned about Covid-19. Although we are scaling down our response, Covid-19 is still with us and will be for the foreseeable future. I therefore urge everyone to continue following the guidance, stay at home and do an LFT test if you feel unwell, and if you are eligible for any of your vaccines, book an appointment or drop into the vaccine centre.’