Students ‘frustrated’ as Covid rules wreck travel

YOUNG Islanders whose travel plans have been wrecked by new Covid restrictions have told of their anger and frustration, with some saying they are being punished because of their age.


In less than two weeks’ time, the whole of England is to become a red travel zone, meaning all adults who are not double-jabbed will have to isolate until receiving a negative day-ten test after returning to Jersey.

Those under 18 will be classed as having a ‘green’ travel history – regardless of where they have come from – requiring isolation only until their first test comes back negative.

But dozens of young people have been caught in a middle ground – too old to qualify for green status but not old enough to have been double-jabbed.

One student said she felt as if she had received a ‘kick in the teeth’ as she cancelled a trip back to the UK and made arrangements for friends to forward personal possessions.

‘People are scrambling to come back before the restrictions,’ said Chloe Swetenham, a third-year chemistry student from Durham.

‘It’s frustrating because we have all done ten days’ isolation every time we have come back.

‘We are fed up and frustrated. It feels like a kick in the teeth because we are all trying to travel in order to have better facilities to study,’ Ms Swetenham added.

Increased cases of the virus attributed to the Delta variant mean that the whole of England will join Scotland as a red zone from 29 June, while large areas of England will turn red next Tuesday.

Another affected student, Georgia Le Marquand (22), has scrapped her travel plans and her sister Phoebe is in a similar situation.

‘At the moment, I’ve just finished my teaching qualification and I can’t go back to say goodbye or to collect my things – it’s just not realistic. It’s quite a hard thing to accept that you are not going to be able to say goodbye at the end of uni,’ she said.

Ms Le Marquand explained that, having completed a three-year degree course at Winchester to become a primary school teacher, she was due to take up a job in Kuwait in August, something she described as ‘a further complication’.

‘Many of us are not going to be able to attend our own graduations due to take place next month. If you are going to be away for more than a couple of weeks then isolation is worth it but not for a short time, and it’s also different if you are isolating on your own. If you are with your family you have to think about any risk to them too,’ she said.

Emily Smith, aged 31, tweeted her frustration at the impact the latest policy is having with family living in a part of England with a low rate of Covid-19 cases.

‘Being punished because of my age. People aged between 19 and say 40 can’t help they have only had one vaccine to date – that’s the way the programme has worked. Yet if we travel we’re being punished. Doesn’t seem fair to me,’ she posted.

Earlier this week, a cross-party committee in the UK concluded that plans to introduce Covid passports should be dropped as it would ‘disproportionately discriminate’ based on race, religion, age and socio-economic background.

Advice to those currently receiving their first vaccination is that they can expect to receive their second from mid-July onwards with a further two-week wait until they receive their vaccination passport.

Meanwhile, the Jersey Hospitality Association has expressed its disappointment at the delay to the Island’s reconnection roadmap. Nightclubs will stay closed until 5 July at the earliest, with restrictions on standing service in pubs and bars also remaining in place for at least another fortnight.

Calling for ‘further progress’ on the removal of the need for fully vaccinated people to isolate when contact traced, a spokesperson said: ‘The JHA is questioning whether we are doing the right thing by further delaying reconnection and restricting who can come here. If people are safe, and we have protected those who are vulnerable, then the government must weigh up whether it is prepared to continue to damage businesses, livelihoods and Islanders’ mental health.’

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