Coronavirus: Jersey enters emergency circuit-breaker as cases surge

Hospitality venues must close for up to a month to slow spread of Covid-19

Kate Ng
Thursday 03 December 2020 09:43 GMT
All licensed hospitality venues must close from one minute past midnight on Friday 4 December in Jersey, the government has announced
All licensed hospitality venues must close from one minute past midnight on Friday 4 December in Jersey, the government has announced (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Licensed hospitality venues in Jersey will be forced to close from 00:01 GMT on Friday after the island’s government announced a circuit-breaker lockdown following a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes, as well as hotels, will be closed as part of a hospitality circuit breaker to slow the spread of the virus, chief minister John Le Fondré Jr announced on Wednesday.

Jersey, which has a population of 173,863, saw the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rise sharply from five on 24 November to 33 the day after. On Wednesday, the island recorded its biggest daily total of 56 new cases.

Of the 331 active cases currently on the island, 231 are symptomatic and eight people are being treated in hospital.

According to health minister Richard Renouf, the R rate on the island currently stands between 1.6 and 2.0, meaning on average, every infected person passes the virus on to more than one other person, resulting in the number of new cases “rising exponentially”.

Gyms and indoor sport and fitness classes must also close. Takeaways, delivery services and all shops can remain open but must carry out “appropriate risk assessments” and adhere to two-metre social distancing guidelines wherever possible.

Mr Le Fondré Jr said in a speech that the new measures were in addition to work from home orders issued earlier in the week. The circuit-breaker is expected to remain in place until 4 January.

People in Jersey have also been told to wear masks in indoor public spaces, a rule that came into force on Wednesday. Hospital visits have been suspended due to an increase in cases and hospitalisations.

“These decisions have not been made lightly and I hope Islanders will recognise the serious position we find ourselves in and the necessity of introducing these new measures,” he added.

“I know that collectively these measures represent a significant restriction on Islanders, particularly at this time of the year, when we want to be celebrating and spending time with loved ones and friends.

“But, we need to prevent our health services from being overwhelmed, and ensure we are still able to celebrate during the festive period.”

Additional financial support for affected businesses will be available under the co-funded payroll scheme, said the chief minister.

Without action, Mr Renouf said the number of Covid-19 cases could rise to 1,100 by Boxing Day, with around 12,000 direct contacts being required to self-isolate - equivalent to more than one in 10 residents being in self-isolation over the festive period.

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