Jersey’s reopened borders: One month on

Jersey's borders reopened on Friday 3 July 2020. Credit: ITV Channel TV

More than 18,600 people arriving through Jersey’s air and sea borders chose to be tested for coronavirus, rather than undertake two weeks of mandatory quarantine.

Among them, 12 tested positive for Covid-19, all initially showing no symptoms, with one going on to develop symptoms that did not need hospital treatment.

The change of policy began on Friday 3 July, amid concerns from a number of politicians that it would lead to fresh outbreaks in the island.

Those running the system say none of the positive cases has led to community transmission of the virus.

Credit: ITV Channel TV

Deputy Kirsten Morel, who represents St Lawrence, was one of the most vocal sceptics at the start, but he’s told ITV News he’s been reassured by what he’s seen so far.

At the moment because things seem to be going well, yes I am, and I am pleased to be able to say that. August is the key time. We will get more people coming to Jersey in August. We will get more islanders going all around the world in August so it’s important we don’t take our eye off the ball.

Deputy Kirsten Morel, Jersey's Chair of Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny Panel

Since the borders reopened, the government has developed a traffic light system to determine what passengers need to do on arrival in Jersey, depending on the country they have been in.

All get a test on arrival, with those from green countries free to carry on as normal while avoiding groups of people until they get a negative result. the test results take between two to three days.

Those from amber countries must self-isolate until they get a negative result from a second test on day five, while those from red countries must complete 14 days of quarantine.

Today (Tuesday 4 August), Malta and Czech Republic moved from green to amber.

Credit: ITV Channel TV

In total, as a consequence of 12 passengers testing positive, around 100 people have had to self-isolate, so far. They are contacted by a team of 55 contact tracers who interview any positive person to establish all their recent direct contacts.

Credit: ITV Channel TV

Rachel Williams, Director of the Test and Tracing Programme, said their work is helping the island stay open to the world.

It’s been a really interesting and challenging time but one of the best moments is seeing loved ones reunite and reconnect. As soon as a positive case is identified we find all of the people they’ve been in direct contact with, we self-isolate them, we test them, and because of that we’re not identifying the spread from people arriving and we’re keeping the island safe.

Rachel Williams, Jersey's Director of the Test & Tracing Programme

A recruitment drive to find more testers to carry out the swab tests at the airport and harbour is due to begin in the coming days.

  • Watch Gary Burgess's report here: