First coronavirus case in Jersey confirmed

THE first case of coronavirus in Jersey has been confirmed.

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The person was tested at the end of last week, and their positive result was confirmed earlier today.

The person is well and has been in self-isolation at home since returning from northern Italy.

The Health Department is in daily telephone contact with the patient and will do further swabs after the patient has cleared symptoms to ensure they have also cleared the virus.

The case is unrelated to the self-isolation of JCG students earlier today.

Dr Ivan Muscat, Jersey’s Deputy Medical Officer of Health, said: 'Officers from Environmental Health are in the process of contacting the necessary passengers asking them to self-isolate. It does not affect everybody on the flight. If the team do not contact you then there is no need to worry and you do not need to contact the Department or the helpline. We have all the contact details of the people we need to speak to.

'We want to reassure Islanders that the person who has tested positive for coronavirus in Jersey is receiving all the care and medical attention necessary. We are working with the individual concerned to trace any relevant close contacts and therefore ensure that they are managed appropriately.

'We recognise that with the presentation of the first case in Jersey that there may be some concern. However, it is essential that we are open with Islanders about this news, and to ensure that we give the best possible treatment and care to our patient whilst protecting their confidentiality.

'The best thing people can do to help stop the spread of Coronavirus is to be scrupulous about hand, surface and respiratory hygiene. Wash your hands frequently. Use tissues to cough or sneeze into and throw them away as soon as you have used them. Keep the surfaces you work on and touch as clean as you can. Those messages will not change.

In more than 80 percent of cases, infection with the virus is mild. Unlike flu, current indications are that individuals who are showing no symptoms are unlikely to be contagious.

The announcement comes 24 hours after Guernsey confirmed its first case of the virus which has spread globally. The patient in Guernsey had recently returned from a trip to Tenerife.

Meanwhile, supermarkets in the Island have announced they are to be put restrictions in place on the number of several essential items including toilet roll and soap that people can buy in an effort to manage stocks.

Mark Cox, acting chief executive of the Channel Island's Co-Op, said: 'We have started restricting some products in all our stores due to the unprecedented demand.

'We would like to urge all our customers not to panic buy as this will affect supply and potentially restrict choice. To ensure we can maintain supply and meet sensible levels of demand, we have temporarily put restrictions on essential items, such as toilet roll, facial tissues, kitchen towel and soap, to three items per customer. Restricted items are clearly labelled in all stores and our colleagues on the tills will advise any customers hoping to purchase more than three of the limited items.'

Mr Cox tweeted a photo of staff re-stocking a large section of hand-sanitiser.

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To date, there have been almost 120,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide and in excess of 4,000 deaths.

China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and Spain are the worst affected countries in terms of diagnoses and deaths.

Islanders are being urged to continue maintaining good hygiene and following government advice.

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