Jersey ‘could be a leader with Covid-19 certificates’

JERSEY has an opportunity to be an ‘early adopter’ of Covid safety certificates, potentially as soon as the middle of May, a senior minister has said.

Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30647494)
Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30647494)

With Covid-19 vaccination programmes proceeding rapidly in both Jersey and the UK, Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham is pushing to see Jersey bring in a certification scheme that would see arriving passengers given a lower-risk status if they have been fully vaccinated.

More than 25,000 Islanders have already had two doses of the vaccine, with updated figures due to be published today, while approximately eight million Britons have also had both their jabs.

Meanwhile, Jersey’s deputy medical officer of health, Dr Ivan Muscat, has said that expanding the list of Covid-19 symptoms for which people can be tested for the virus provided an extra layer of protection against the spread.

The number of known active cases dropped to two on Wednesday and there have been no community cases discovered in more than two weeks. The number of people in isolation as a result of being a direct contact of those active cases was 21 yesterday.

Jersey’s border restrictions are due to be eased on 26 April, and Senator Farnham said he hoped that bringing in Covid safety certificates would help to revive travel to and from the Island in a safe fashion.

‘It would be really helpful for Islanders to be able to leave Jersey to see their friends and family, or to go on holidays, and to be treated as green arrivals [as a result of their vaccination status] when they return,’ he said.

‘Some of these are much-needed trips for people who haven’t seen their loved ones for a long time, and this step would potentially help the move back towards more normal life.

‘Jersey is well placed to be an early adopter for this sort of scheme, which I would be in favour of introducing as soon as we safely can.

‘Rather than hold back, we need to launch sooner rather than later and would then be able to evolve the scheme.’

With Jersey already having access to vaccination records for Islanders, Senator Farnham said it was most likely that the first beneficiaries of the scheme

would be those returning to Jersey, with a second phase for UK residents once a satisfactory system had been confirmed.

Visit Jersey has launched a marketing drive designed to promote the Island as a destination for Britons whose freedom to travel outside the Common Travel Area – of which Jersey is a part – looks as though it will be severely limited until June or July.

Those with Covid safety certificates could potentially benefit from a lower-risk categorisation on arrival in Jersey, with those coming from amber areas downgraded to green, meaning they would have to isolate for only eight to 12 hours, until they had received the result of the test taken on arrival.

Current indicative maps published by the government show that a large majority of regions in the UK are likely to be classed as either green or amber when restrictions ease on 26 April.

Senator Farnham said ministers would be having further discussions next week.

An online petition was launched yesterday, however, calling for the government not to introduce vaccine passports.

The petition, lodged by Duncan Cassidy, had received around 100 signatures by yesterday afternoon.

In it, Mr Cassidy said: ‘We want the government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport, certification or whatever name they wish to use to the public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine which would be unacceptable.

‘This is discriminatory, unethical and wrong on so many levels and must not be allowed to happen.'

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