From midnight tonight, all Islanders aged 65 and over, and people with underlying medical conditions, must self-isolate to shield them from the spread of the Coronavirus.
The Government agreed the measure today, following medical advice that the virus has started to spread within the community and this group is at greatest risk of the worst symptoms of the virus if they contract it, and are therefore more likely to require hospitalisation and intensive care.
The advice, from the Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, is based on the latest data and is in line with the Government’s approach to contain the virus where possible, delay its spread and shield the most vulnerable groups.
From midnight, therefore, Islanders aged 65 and over, and people with ‘less severe’ underlying medical conditions, should only leave their homes for a total of two hours per day and in the following limited circumstances:
- to shop for necessities, such as food and medicine, which must be as infrequently as possible
- for daily exercise. This can include walking, cycling, running, sea swimming or other open sea activities, provided you maintain social distancing from everyone else
- for medical reasons, if you are advised to do so by a healthcare worker or required to do so having called 999.
The Government will issue further, detailed guidance shortly. This will be available on the Government of Jersey website and will be communicated via social media, the press and the call centre.
Those with medical conditions that put them at ‘severe risk’ from COVID-19 are now advised to ‘home isolate’. This includes Islanders with certain cancers, severe respiratory conditions such as severe asthma, those on medications that significantly affect their immune system, and pregnant women with underlying heart disease.
These groups are advised to:
- Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
- Do not leave your house.
- Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services.
- Do not go out for shopping, work, leisure or travel
- When arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.
- People in home isolation should keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
The Minister for Health, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: “We are introducing this measure to protect our most vulnerable groups of Islanders from the spread of Coronavirus, because the medical advice is that they are more like to suffer from more severe symptoms, be hospitalised and require intensive care. They are also at greatest risk of death.
“By self-isolating, with the support of family, friends and the help of volunteers, we hope to shield over 65s, and those with underlying medical conditions, from the virus. This will help save lives, by significantly reducing hospital demand throughout the infection curve.
“The Government Community Taskforce will mobilise to support this group to stay in their homes and we will keep them informed about when it is likely to be safe enough to ease these restrictions. I should be clear that this will be a matter of weeks, not days.
“I must stress to those affected that this is for your own safety, and it requires all of us to ensure that we keep our distance and practice good hygiene, so we don’t take the infection into your homes.”
Government of Jersey News Release.