Reduction in border testing policy announced

BORDER testing for the majority of arriving passengers will cease from 2 November, the government has confirmed, while also unveiling a drive for greater use of lateral flow tests.

Dr Ivan Muscat
Dr Ivan Muscat

In removing the requirement for those who are fully vaccinated to take a PCR test on arrival, ministers predict the volume of border tests will decrease by around 80%.

LFTs, already used for school and workforce screening, as well as direct contacts of Covid-19 cases, will be available for all Islanders, with a recommendation for testing to become a twice-weekly routine, especially prior to attending social gatherings such as Christmas parties.

With effect from next week, all Jersey residents will be able to register online and get a pack of LFTs posted to their homes.

Deputy medical officer of health Dr Ivan Muscat said the sensitivity of LFTs in picking up the dominant Delta variant of Covid was 'very good indeed', although positive results would still need to be corroborated via a follow-up PCR test.

The changes are part of the Island's strategy to limit the risks posed by Covid across the forthcoming winter period while preserving the steps back towards normality taken so far during 2021.

Ministers hope that the strategy, which includes a renewed drive for eligible Islanders to book vaccines as soon as they are available, will avoid the need to return to more restrictive measures used during previous waves of the pandemic.

But the announcement included an admission that the timing and scale of a fourth wave was uncertain, and a warning that stronger measures could be adopted in future if the volume of cases and serious illness reached concerning levels.

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