New report published today scrutinises Government’s Safer Travel Guidelines
A Scrutiny Panel has today released its second report detailing a number of key findings and recommendations in relation to the Government’s Safer Travel Guidelines. The Safer Travel Guidelines provide guidance for everyone travelling into the Bailiwick of Jersey, regardless of how they arrive, their length of stay, or of the frequency of their travel to and from the Island. This guidance advises incoming passengers on travel planning, registration before travelling, testing for COVID-19 upon entry, and the length of quarantine required.
The ‘Safer Travel Guidelines Panel’ found that inbound travel has significantly impacted the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Jersey since the implementation of the Safer Travel Guidelines on 1 July 2020. Following the tightening of isolation requirements onward transmission has, up until September, been kept relatively low. However, since October 2020, cases of community transmission are now rapidly increasing.
The Panel has recommended to the Government that stricter isolation periods for inbound travel, such as isolation for all inbound travellers until a day 5 negative test is received, should be considered. Furthermore, that a firm policy on students returning from universities in the UK and overseas for Christmas must be decided and communicated without delay. The Panel has suggested that returning children and students should be required to adhere to isolation requirements, as stipulated by the regions that they have resided in during the previous 14 days prior to arrival.
As returning Jersey residents are becoming a higher proportion of the inbound travellers who require testing, a further recommendation from the Panel is that the on-island testing laboratory should prioritise day 5 tests to allow Islanders to return into the community in a timely and safe manner.
The Track and Trace programme, along with the enforcement of required isolation has also been reviewed by the Panel, which commends the efforts made by Government in these areas. However, the Panel has recommended further action to ensure the timely tracing of direct contacts and compliance with quarantine measures, such as the quicker sourcing of contact details for direct contacts and increased visits by the enforcement team to those in isolation.
Deputy Rob Ward, Panel Chair, comments, saying, “The Panel has continued to review the Government’s Policies and Guidelines for arrivals to the Island since their introduction in July this year.
“It is clear that inward travel has significantly impacted islanders positively through sustaining vital air links and enabling those who wish to travel to return home relatively unhindered, but also negatively by increasing the number of positive cases within the Island.
“As the numbers of COVID-19 positive cases have risen steeply in neighbouring countries, as well as now on Island, the work of the Panel has become even more significant. The findings and recommendations of this report are aimed at being timely and targeted to address the issues the Panel has identified in this constantly evolving situation.”
Scrutiny released an interim report on 24 July 2020 regarding the Government’s initial guidelines. The report made 8 recommendations, of which 3 were accepted, 2 partially accepted and 3 rejected. See the Ministerial Response to the interim report here. The Panel has continued to, and will continue to, review the guidelines as they are implemented and updated.