Jersey locks down but boosts its services

Here is an insight on all you need to know about Jersey's lock down due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. 

Telecomunications

Jersey Telecoms is using its facilities in novel ways. It has rolled out more free-of-charge optic fibre broadband capacity to its subscribers, and has been reassuring about its ability to meet the new demands for home working and streaming across the island. It also sent a text message to all its subscribers with the Jersey government's latest advice on Friday that all islanders must social distance. Thanks to investment in its infrastructure over the last five years all Jersey households are now connected to fibre optics.

Water 

Jersey Water board announced last week that it would put planned price increases for water on hold while the Covid-19 emergency lasts. These were due to take place on 1 April. Jersey Water anticipates an increase in the use of water because of the greater need for strict hygiene during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Ferries

Condor Ferries, the ferry service between Jersey, Guernsey and the United Kingdom, has freed up one of its passenger services to carry only freight, in order to help with the re-supply difficulties facing food shops and supermarkets in the islands. Condor Ferries is also running repatriation services from St Malo in Brittany for all Jersey residents stranded in France, Spain and other European countries. A Condor ship hit the news this week when it rescued a man from the sea on its route from Jersey to Portsmouth. The man, in the sea off the coast of Alderney, was clinging to his over-turned rowing boat. 

Quarantine

People coming back to Jersey from anywhere abroad, including the UK, plus their families, must now self-quarantine for 14 days even if they don't have any symptoms of Covid-19. This is affecting many families who have children returning from the universities that have closed in the UK. Four Jersey students are reported stranded in Lima because of the lockdown in Peru. Flights out of the country have either been cancelled or are full. For the latest travel regulations see the Government website.

The Hospital 

The island's only hospital has cancelled all non-urgent operations and appointments. It hopes to be able to provide telephone consultations for everyone whose operations and appointments with consultants have been cancelled.Testing for Covid-19 is only on referral from the health services, either at home or at a special facility sited a long way from the hospital.Medical practises are contacting the patients with asthma, heart diseases, diabetes, a history of pneumonia and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema) for a preventive risk assessment. There are only limited supplies of pneumonia vaccine in the island and these will be supplied to highest risk patients. 

Two companies, Channel Islands Liquor in Jersey and Guernsey Seaweed company in Guernsey, are testing a new hand sanitiser using alcohol and local seaweed. If they get government approval the companies say they will be able to make enough to meet the increasing demands in the islands.

Airlines

The local airline Blue Islands has decided to ground all its Guernsey flights and is reducing its Jersey services. Blue Islands has been working hard to pick up the slack caused by the failure of the regional airline Flybe a few weeks ago. But once returning Jersey residents are home and in compulsory isolation with their families for 14 days there will be little demand for its flights.

Shopping

Some of the local administrative units (parishes) are contacting all their over-70s to enquire if they need help with health and shopping services.

Local Businesses

Local businesses will be able to apply for a £200 a week subsidy per employee, called the coronavirus payroll co-funding scheme, for a period of six weeks. The first payments are scheduled for the beginning of April. More economic help to the tune of about £180 million is also in the pipeline.
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