Call for arrivals to self-isolate until test results come back

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Environment Minister John Young has broken ministerial ranks and lodged an individual proposition which would bring about a number of changes to the government’s open-borders policy.

If passed, his proposals would see any new arrivals detained in the ports if testing facilities are not available until they can be tested.

Arriving passengers would also be required to self-isolate in the accommodation they declared in their pre-travel registration until they receive a negative test result.

In addition, Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis would be asked to arrange transport for self-isolating individuals travelling to and from the ports. And Health Minister Richard Renouf would be requested to issue guidance to accommodation providers on managing self-isolating guests.

The measures would remain in place for at least six weeks, after which they would be subject to review, if the proposals are passed.

The States last week voted 37 to 12 in favour of reopening Jersey’s borders on Friday 3 July. A number of States Members, including Deputy Young, expressed concerns over the safety of vulnerable Islanders.

A number of backbenchers lodged amendments, which suggested changes including delaying the reopening for a week and introducing tougher self-isolation measures. All of these proposals were defeated, however. Since the borders reopened the number of active cases of Covid-19 in the Island has increased, with a ferry and an air passenger, both of whom were asymptomatic, testing positive at the weekend.

In his proposition, Deputy Young said: ‘States Members were given only five days to consider the details of the proposed arrangements to implement this policy; an urgent Scrutiny review took place which identified gaps in the safeguards, resulting in an amendment to rectify them.

‘It is of great regret that amendment was treated so dismissively by those promoting the policy in an emotional and highly charged debate; compounded by exaggerated claims of losing our air links.’

It adds: ‘I personally received many angry comments from people who considered those entering our borders should be required to self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.

‘People thought this simply “common sense”. This has especially affected many people who only recently have started to gain confidence to re-engage within our community and return to normal life, shopping, restaurants and even staycations.’

He added that the positive cases since the borders reopened and that current arrangements had allowed these people to ‘roam freely’ before receiving test results had ‘deepened the division in our community’.

He added: ‘We have been so lucky that both these people were responsible, acted sensibly and remained in the residences where they are staying. They might not have been; they could have visited restaurants or even visited a care home or the Hospital.’

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