This week’s school half term break could play a crucial role in determining the future of Jersey’s Covid-19 strategy as the island prepares to ease restrictions later this month. A government spokesperson said Ministers would be ‘taking into account’ the effect of travel over the holiday, after it was announced that stage 7 of the reconnection road map will proceed as scheduled on June 14, provided case numbers remain low. The next phase will see the return of nightclubs and festivals, as well as unlimited gatherings in homes and gardens, large indoor and outdoor events and the resumption of standing alcohol drink service.
Jersey has today announced that it is mirroring the UK’s stricter rules on arriving passengers with Portugal and Madeira being downgraded to Amber meaning anyone arriving from those areas will need to isolate for 5 days until the result of their second (day 5) test, unless they have received both vaccinations. However people returning to the UK from Amber listed countries must self-isolate at home for 10 days as part of coronavirus restrictions. As a result of the news many holiday makers in Portugal face a scramble for flights home before the move is introduced on Tuesday next week. The Uk Government’s decision on Portugal is a huge blow for the travel industry as the country was the only viable major tourist destination on the Green list. It is only 17 days since the ban on non-essential leisure travel from Britain was lifted.
Last week in Jersey, the first cases of the Indian variant were confirmed after a ‘small number’ of inbound travellers tested positive for the more transmissible form of the virus. Thousands of passengers have this week passed through Jersey’s border during the half term break and a Government spokesperson said ‘We will be keeping a close eye on developments and taking into account of travel over the ‘half term break’. ‘Increasing reconnection is invariably associated with increasing risk, this is why we have eased restrictions in stages as outlined in the reconnection roadmap, and have continued to follow advice from the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) with a view to being able to respond quickly if needed’.
Islanders continue to be urged to arrange their vaccination appointments, with bookings for 25 to 29 year-olds opening from today. The Island’s deputy medical officer of health Dr Ivan Muscat said he wanted to thank Schools, Colleges, and the nursey community, for ‘playing their part’ in ensuring the risk of the virus was minimised. ‘I appreciate the huge efforts being made by parents, carers, students, school colleges and nursey staff who continue to follow the public health guidelines which helps to keep our community safe’
Jersey currently has 4 known cases of Covid-19.
Meanwhile in other news, Jersey has just had its second-sunniest spring- falling just short of the record last year. A total of 804.6 hours of sunshine were recorded across March, April and May, the three months defined as Spring by meteorologists. It was only 28 hours less than the amount recorded during the same period last year, in what was the sunniest spring since records began in 1925!
Mixed stock markets
London-listed shares were in the red yesterday, with the FTSE 100 finishing off the day 0.6% lower. British Airways owner IAG plummeted 5.4%, after the British government confirmed that Portugal would be removed from the UK’s list of green countries. Similarly, Ryanair closed the day 4.5% lower, easyJet fell 5.1%, and travel group Tui was down 4.5%. Numbers showed Burberry and Rolls Royce were in the lead yesterday, finishing the day off 3.5% and 3.1% higher respectively. So far, Burberry has added more than 20% this year. Oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and BP also contributed to the higher UK100 yesterday, adding more than 2%.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 opened 20 power lower, GER30 was down 35 points and the FRA40 opened 21 points lower.
Wall Street was not looking good yesterday, with NASDAQ100 falling 1.1%. The S&P 500 was led by Ford and General Motors withs of 7.2% and 6.4% respectively, with Ford reporting that its sales were up by more than 4% in May compared to May in 2020. Markets are expected to be impacted by the ISM services PMI being released later today.
The majority of cryptos registered gains which pushed the crypto market significantly higher yesterday, but the latest numbers have shown that the market is mostly lower now, with most of the top 10 cryptos in red. Bitcoin was down around 5%, trading above $36,000. The largest losses of the top 10 were registered by Dogecoin, which was down more than 14% this morning.
AMC warns investors
AMC has warned investors this week to refrain from buying their stock at the moment, sending the price down as much as 30% before it pared back some losses. Figures from Freetrade have shown that buy orders for AMC are up almost 300% and it is the most traded stock on the platform.
Tech giants avoid UK tax
It has been reported that a handful of the biggest tech giants have managed to avoid UK tax liabilities to the amount of £1.5billion, by moving money out of the UK. Between 8 of the largest companies, from Amazon to Microsoft, an estimated £9.6billion profit from sales was generated thanks to British customers in 2019. Based on its methodology, TaxWatch, has named Apple the biggest tax avoider, underpaying £517million.
Service sector still growing
Regardless of tax avoidance, the UK is working for its own money, as its service sector is still experiencing the fastest growth in 24 years. Concerns over labour shortages have been prevalent but it doesn’t seem to have dowsed the sector’s success since lockdown restrictions were relaxed in May.
Right to disconnect
With the emergence of so-called hybrid working, which is a system whereby the benefits of office- and home- based working are balanced, employees are wanting to set up some boundaries. Representing more than 150,000 employees across the UK, a trade union called Prospect, is requesting that the government introduces a “right to disconnect” for employees outside of office hours. A survey was done with employees in various professions, and the outcome showed that 1 in 3 people struggle to “clock out” mentally since working remotely. Similarly, another survey commissioned by Prospect in April found that 66% of people would support a “right to disconnect” being added to the UK Employment Bill.