Jersey will be placed under lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, the island’s Chief Minister has announced.
The government expects the measures to be in place until at least the end of April.
From 8am on Monday 30 March, islanders will be unable to leave their homes, except for the following reasons:
Shopping for essentials such as food or medicine, as infrequently as possible.
Exercise- this includes walking, cycling, running, or caring for animals.
Travelling to and from work, for essential workers only.
Announcing the news, Senator John Le Fondré declared the situation a 'national emergency'.
It gives me no pleasure to impose such a lockdown in our Island and to restrict Islanders’ freedoms, but it is now essential to limit the spread of coronavirus, avoid pressure on our health services and save lives. This is a national emergency. We cannot stop the virus, so we must manage its impact over the coming weeks and months. We have already made some extraordinary changes to our Island life in just a few short weeks, and it will be difficult to adjust to these new restrictions. We recognise that this is a concerning time for everyone and that this ‘stay at home’ order may trigger both emotional and practical issues for Islanders.
During the lockdown, non-essential business will have to close and public gatherings of two or more people will be broken up.
Earlier this week the States approved emergency powers, giving the government the power to require islanders to be screened for coronavirus using reasonable force.
Deputy Richard Renouf, the island's Health Minister, says the new measures are being introduced on the advice of Dr Ivan Muscat, Jersey's Medical Officer for Health.
He said the delays in receiving test results meant the government could not fully understand how well the measures it has already introduced are working.
Receiving timely results is important, not only to maintain public confidence in our projections, but more importantly it enables our public health team to see what impact our health advice is having on flattening the infection curve.When we don’t receive these results, we do not know what effect our measures arehaving. While the number of positive tests is still relatively low, Dr Muscat has advised the Government that now is the right time to impose further restrictions on our community, to slow the spread of the virus through the Island.This is because without timely results showing us what social distancing is doing to the spread of the infection, there is a risk that the measures are not working as well as they could. And we will not risk lives.