Updated: Aug 18, 2021
I'm very pleased to welcome you to today's briefing, and to update you on Jersey's Reconnection Roadmap, and the further easing of the restrictions we have all been living with.
I am joined by Senator Ian Gorst, Minister for External Relations, and by Dr Ivan Muscat, the Deputy Medical Officer of Health.
As Islanders will know, in response to an increased number of COVID cases in recent weeks, we had to pause some parts of our reconnection plan.
That was the right decision, at the time, to protect the community.
The case numbers now show that the wave is receding, and we are ready to reconnect.
Yesterday, Ministers agreed that, from Thursday 26 August, we will move to Stage 7 of our reconnection roadmap.
By that date, the third wave will be behind us, and over 80% of adults will be fully vaccinated.
From 26th August, there will no longer be restrictions on gatherings. You can meet with as many friends and family as you want - in your home, your garden, on the beach or in a park.
You will no longer have to wear masks, with the exception of the ports and public transport.
The recommendation to work from home will also end.
Stand-up drinking will be permitted and nightclubs can reopen fully. Dancing will also be permitted once again.
I am also very pleased that large events will be able to go ahead – subject to risk assessment and approval of the Bailiff's Panel. And we are going to work closely with the Bailiff's Panel to help facilitate this.
Our vaccination programme continues at pace.
But many younger Islanders are still not vaccinated, and I would urge everyone who is yet to do so to book and appointment through Gov.je, to call the Coronavirus Hotline, or to attend one of the pop-up vaccination sessions. It is the responsibility we have to one-another to protect our Island and to allow our freedoms and liberties to be restored.
Fewer people are testing positive for COVID. And fewer people are seeking medical assistance as a result.
This is positive news, and it is time to start thinking about moving our focus from active case numbers to providing the appropriate healthcare to those in our community who become unwell as a result of Covid – just as we do with every other medical condition.
The move to Stage Seven marks a distinct change in the way our Island will deal with the pandemic.
Until now, our strategy has been to suppress infection rates using robust measures which involved large-scale restrictions.
Those measures have helped bring down infection rates – but at a cost to our liberty.
We must now return Islanders' freedoms as soon and as fully as it is safe to do.
Now that we have attained very high levels of vaccination, our strategy can change from one of suppression to one of more active mitigation.
This means that we, as individuals, take action to control the spread of the virus as part of our daily lives. So continue to follow best practice: participate in track and trace if you visit bars and restaurants, continue to wash and sanitize your hands and if you do get symptoms, get them checked out.
The recent wave of cases has shown that the risk of an outbreak of mild to moderate infection remains, but if Islanders continue to get vaccinated and take precautions then we will be able to live with COVID; without allowing it to dominate or restrict our freedoms.
Of course, we always stand ready to take appropriate measure to protect our safety, but it is our sincere hope that we will not have to return to the strict measures needed over the past 18 months.