Amendments to Government's Safer Travel Guidelines proposed
16th April 2021
Today, the 'Safer Travel Guidelines Review Panel' has lodged a proposition calling for the Government of Jersey to enhance its safer travel policy when it is reinstated on the 26 April 2021.
The Panel has reviewed the Government's approach to border policy throughout the pandemic and believes that while the time is right for reconnection, further measures should be taken to reduce the risk of cases of COVID-19 rising in Jersey.
The Panel has, therefore, proposed:
- A return to categorisation of regions as "Green" if they hold a positive case number of 25 per 100,000 over a 14-day period, compared to 50 cases per 100,000 which will be currently implemented.
- A return to identification of regions in the United Kingdom based upon upper tier local authority (counties, metropolitan districts, inner and outer London and unitary authorities) level, as oppose to the lower tier or council areas which will currently be implemented.
The Panel has highlighted that relaxation of movement restrictions in the UK necessitate larger regional allocation, whilst the uncertain and quick changing nature of the pandemic necessitate caution in allocation of RAG (Red Amber Green) ratings, as previously emphasised by members of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell.
The proposition further requests that Scrutiny and States Members are briefed ahead of any changes to the Safer Travel Policy, following sudden changes in strategy during 2020.
Deputy Rob Ward, Panel Chair, said, "Although the Panel agrees in principle with the reopening of the Island's borders again we are concerned that not doing so in a cautious manner risks a rise of COVID-19 cases given that it coincides with the relaxing of measures both in Jersey and the UK, the continued emergence of variants and the remaining high levels of the virus in other jurisdictions. Although there has been progress globally in combating the Pandemic, particularly with the roll out of vaccination programmes here and abroad, the situation remains uncertain. As such we see these proposals as a sensible enhancement to the policy to meet the Government's aim of balancing risks."
The Panel released interim and final reports during 2020 in which it raised a number of concerns and made recommendations regarding the Safer Travel Policy as it was updated throughout the year.
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