No cases of Omicron yet

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While scientific advisers said the UK’s tally of Omicron infections was doubling every three days, with the new variant expected to become the dominant strain of the virus, no confirmed cases have been recorded in the Island.

A government spokesperson said that at least ten samples per day were being sent from Jersey to the UK for further testing.

In a short statement, the spokesperson added that the majority of the samples sent for analysis were from those arriving in the Island from outside the Common Travel Area that comprises the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Other samples have resulted from those who have taken PCR tests as a result of being admitted to hospital, having Covid-19 symptoms or recording a positive result to a lateral-flow test.

UK media reported this week that Professor Neil Ferguson, a member of the Nervtag advisory group, had reported that Omicron cases were occurring with ‘a doubling time of three days or less’.

Meanwhile, Professor Paul Hunter, of the University of East Anglia, said he believed that Omicron would probably start ‘out-competing’ the previously-dominant Delta variant and become the dominant variant ‘within the next weeks’.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs in Westminster this week that some of the recently diagnosed UK cases of the Omicron variant had no connection to international travel, meaning that it could be concluded that there was now community transmission across multiple regions of England.

Tighter restrictions have been imposed by both the UK and Jersey since the first reports of Omicron cases during the final week of November, with the UK reporting a total of 336 cases on Tuesday.

Several countries in southern Africa were placed on a UK red list, meaning that people arriving from these places faced ten days of mandatory hotel quarantine, while all arrivals in the UK have been required to take a pre-departure PCR test since yesterday.

Jersey has reintroduced a requirement for all passengers from outside the Common Travel Area to have a PCR test on arrival at the Airport or Harbour.

And passengers arriving from the UK from outside the CTA, including those transiting through the UK now require a pre-departure test before travelling.

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