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Health Minister's Speech on the COVID-19 Winter Strategy

21 October 2021

The COVID-19 testing strategy has been one of the cornerstones of Jersey's response to the pandemic.

Without testing, and even alongside our vaccination roll out, the virus still has the potential to present a serious risk to individuals and our community and to our health service.

Regular testing forms part of the measures in which individuals can now commit to in taking personal responsibility for their safety and behaviour.  

This is why, from the 26 October, anyone aged 12 and over can register online to receive their lateral flow test kits directly to their home, allowing Islanders to take responsibility for their own testing needs and make risk-based decisions.

I am pleased to see the extension of lateral flow testing to those who are not included in the current workplace or school testing programmes.

It means we are offering a wide ranging programme of testing that can be used by most Islanders, including those who are not employed, retired or on any leave of absence such as parental leave.   

This opportunity is open to all Islanders, regardless of whether you are currently registered on existing workplace or school LFT programmes - You can continue and take part in both.

Home testing will provide increased opportunity to identity Islanders who may be positive but not showing symptoms.

Lateral flow tests are quick and easy to use, and our new brand of SureScreen kits returns results in just fifteen minutes - half the time of the previous brand.

You are advised to take tests at least twice a week, but particularly at opportune moments ahead of social events, such as parties or meeting with people you don't normally see or with those who are at risk.

It is also advisable to take an LFT test once you arrive home in Jersey from travelling through our Ports.

When you get the tests, you will be given instructions on how to report the results. The online results portal should be accessed after every test taken, to submit and confirm your results.

The COVID Safe team will be automatically notified of any positive LFT results input online, and you will be contacted to organise your subsequent PCR test.

If you do return a positive LFT, you should immediately go into isolation until confirmation of a negative PCR.

More than 1,300 businesses have registered with the lateral flow testing programme which keeps their staff and customers safe, many secondary students and education staff are regularly checking themselves with lateral flow tests, and we also continue to offer tests to direct contacts. These programmes remain open and you can still register online.  

It is important we continue to identify, isolate and slow the spread of the virus to protect not only our personal health, but the wellbeing and livelihoods of all Islanders. Doing so maintains business continuity, supports school attendance and keeps our health and care services protected.

The commitment of Islanders to the testing programme throughout this pandemic, has enabled loved ones to reconnect, businesses to operate safely and children and young people to be safe at school.

I urge everyone to take up regular testing in the winter months and register to receive your lateral flow kits from next week.  

I would also like to echo the Chief Minister's earlier sentiments about vaccination and use this opportunity to remind all eligible Islanders about the importance of vaccination as we enter the winter months.

If you are eligible for a booster COVID-19 vaccination or a free flu vaccination this winter, please make sure you take up the offer as soon as possible. Islanders who are eligible for a COVID-19 booster will be offered a free flu vaccination at Fort Regent when attending for their appointment.

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