Deputy vows to keep up pressure on ministers over Covid communications

A BACKBENCH politician has vowed to keep up the pressure on ministers regarding communication with Islanders during the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy Kevin Pamplin                                                             Picture: ROB CURRIE. (29413580)
Deputy Kevin Pamplin Picture: ROB CURRIE. (29413580)

Deputy Kevin Pamplin successfully lodged a proposition in July that was unanimously backed by States Members and required ministers to hold weekly briefings or engagements.

The proposition also stipulated that meetings of the Island’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell be published. After a slow start, further sets of minutes up until mid-July have now been released.

Deputy Pamplin said he still felt there had been some shortcomings in communication, particularly in relation to confirmation of a major rise in confirmed cases of Covid-19 earlier this month.

A total of 30 new cases were reported last Monday, but the regular daily announcement did not come until around 7.30pm.

‘Islanders consume information in real time and when they don’t get this as expected, there’s a void and that leads to anxiety,’ he said. ‘It was difficult on Monday, as there was a major UK announcement taking place on national TV, whereas we don’t have a 24/7 media in Jersey and that meant information was slow to reach some people.’

Hundreds of comments on the government’s Facebook page within an hour of the stats being posted demonstrated that the delay had caused concern, he added.

‘I think they need to restructure the way the reporting process works so that information is available earlier in the day,’ he said.

Health Minister Richard Renouf said he did not wish to return to having results issued on Saturdays and Sundays because of the impact on employees who deserved time off at weekends, but said he would consider this ‘if the situation warrants it’.

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