Five suicide attempts in Jersey linked to coronavirus

Five people in Jersey have attempted suicide as a direct result of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Health officials are warning the long-term effects of lockdown could be so extreme, and hit the poorest hardest, that the wealth gap between the island’s best and worst off could widen, and that life expectancy could go down.

They particularly highlight the mental health impact, with older adults and homes with teenagers most affected.

The number of people detained by the police because of concerns for their own mental health and well-being rose by 150%.

The stark details are contained in the Government of Jersey’s new Covid-19 Strategy document, published after politicians demanded a plan for tackling coronavirus be produced.

It also reveals 19 of Jersey’s confirmed coronavirus cases were among staff and residents of nine care homes. There are now none in any of the island’s care homes.

Despite government ministers previously, incorrectly, claiming data protection rules prevent them from giving more details about where outbreaks have occurred, or how they happened – for example as a result of somebody returning from travel – the document now states such information should be published.

The document sets out details of the plan to suppress, contain and shield approach, which aims to keep levels of positive cases so low that they never overwhelm the health service.

Suppression was achieved through lockdown and the very gradual reopening of businesses and services in the island, through a series of levels set out in the Safe Exit Plan.

Jersey is currently in level three, called ‘soft lockdown’, and moves to level two – ‘soft opening’ on 12 June. The aim is to reach level one – ‘physical distancing’ – from the start of July.

That may also coincide with a reduction from the current two metre physical distancing policy, down to one metre, to allow more businesses, including pubs, to reopen.

The strategy warns a vaccine against Covid-19 may not be available “for possibly years” and that Jersey needs to find a way of living and working with the virus present, a scenario it describes as “the new normal”.

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