After 779 days since the first Covid case in Jersey, the last measures are dropped.
From 00.01 today 29 April, Islanders who receive a positive PCR test result will no longer be required to isolate by law, as agreed by Competent Authority Ministers. However, Public Health guidance continues to strongly recommend that all positive cases isolate away from others to prevent spreading infection. This guidance is in line with other jurisdictions.
Islanders are strongly recommended to:
- isolate and book a PCR test if they have a positive Lateral Flow Test (LFT),
- isolate and book a PCR test if experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms,
- isolate following a positive PCR test.
After a positive PCR test, islanders should plan to isolate for up to 10 days. Starting on Day 5 of isolation, two negative LFTs in a row 24 hours apart is a good sign that it’s OK to return to normal activity, as long as the person does not have a temperature and feels well enough. The two negative LFT results should still be submitted online at gov.je/testing. After 10 days of isolation, individuals should return to normal activity even if their LFT is still positive as long as they do not have a temperature and feel well enough.
This guidance applies irrespective of vaccination status; full guidance on how to isolate is available on gov.je/coronavirus. Islanders who can’t work because they are unwell and isolating after a positive PCR test result may be eligible to claim Short Term Incapacity Allowance. COVID Safe will be communicating directly with all Islanders who are currently in isolation to inform them that the legal requirement has ended but guidance to isolate remains.
The Island’s tally of known active cases fell to 487 yesterday with 5 people recorded as being in hospital. Before the law changed today Jersey is the last remaining part of the British Isles where it is still a legal requirement for those who have tested positive to isolate. Meanwhile, islanders have been urged to use official channels for reporting any side effects from Covid treatment rather than engaging with any unauthorised websites.
COVID-19 reporting to move from daily to weekly
In line with COVID-19 de-escalation measures, the Public Health Intelligence team will change their COVID-19 reporting frequency. The last daily update will be published on Friday 29 April, after which time the daily publication of statistics will change to weekly, with COVID-19 statistics being published every Thursday on gov.je/coronavirus.
Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC)
As part of the de-escalation of the COVID-19 emergency response, Competent Authority Ministers have asked the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) to discontinue, but remain on standby should there be a need to reinstate COVID-19 emergency decision making.
Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “I am pleased to announce that isolation following a positive PCR test will no longer be a legal requirement. This decision has been made based on the latest Public Health intelligence and is proportionate to the new phase of the pandemic that we are now in.
However, it is important to highlight that Public Health guidance continues to strongly encourage isolation to Islanders who are symptomatic, waiting for their PCR test result, or have had a positive COVID-19 test result.
“Islanders are already understanding and managing their own personal risk and have become so accustomed to isolating away from others when infected with COVID-19. This behaviour, to protect others, has become ingrained in Jersey’s culture, and it must continue. “I would also like to extend my thanks to members of STAC, who have been integral in providing scientific and technical advice to Government throughout the pandemic response.”
“I would like to thank all members of the Cell, past and present, for their efforts and their expertise throughout the pandemic. Their advice has been integral to the decisions we have taken as Competent Authority Ministers and the response we have marshalled as an Island.”
Deputy Medical Officer for Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, said: “With the decreased incidence of severe illness from a COVID-19 infection in Jersey, and more cohorts becoming eligible for COVID-19 primary course vaccination or boosters, it is appropriate to remove legal requirements.”
“Over the past two years, Islanders have protected themselves and one another by following the Public Health guidance and adhering to the legal requirements, it is very important that a proportionate approach continues albeit under the umbrella of a recommendation. Islanders should continue doing what they have already been doing by following the guidance to isolate, test, and vaccinate.”
Empty Homes to be made available
The Government of Jersey will research ways to discourage owners from leaving properties vacant for a long time. Its proposition comes after it emerged there were more than 4,000 empty homes on the island on census day 2021. This week the States of Jersey approved the motion with 41 votes for and one against. The options, which could include a new tax or an increase in parish rates, are due to be presented by the end of September 2022.
Deputy Montfort Tadier, who brought forward the proposition, said the motion would economically benefit the island. “There might be a quarter of those properties which could be put back, that’s a thousand homes in Jersey which could be put back into use which are not currently in use… that could save us rezoning green fields,” he said.
The States were told Jersey’s receiver-general has the power to take possession of any property – on behalf of the Crown Estate – that has been empty for 10 years. The housing minister said updating this Jersey law could allow authorities to reclaim empty homes, which could then be redeveloped and rented out.
Deputy Russell Labey also suggested Jersey could copy the UK scheme ‘No Use Empty’, aimed at bringing empty properties back into use by offering their owners loans to refurbish the buildings.
He said the department had £250,000 in funding to put towards the potential scheme. “We must find a way to bring those properties back into use… and to see if we can help people who are asset-rich in terms of property in terms of doing them up and help that process happen, and for the scheme to replenish itself.”
Russia’s President Vladimar Putin has warned the West of a “lightning fast” response to any country that intervenes in its war against Ukraine and creates what he called “strategic threats for Russia.” “We have all the instruments [to respond] that no one can boast of … we’re going to use them if we have to,” he said, in what has widely been seen as an allusion to Russia’s arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
Russia shocked the European community by halting gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday because they had refused to pay for the gas in Russian roubles, as Moscow demanded. The move comes as tensions remain high between Western allies and Russia after Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday said the threat of a nuclear war is very significant and the risks should not be underestimated.
U.S. President Joe Biden has asked Congress to approve $33 billion in additional money for the Ukraine war, which includes funding for U.S. military support to the embattled nation and a mix of direct cash and supplies for Ukraine. The President announced that he will visit a Lockheed Martin plant in Troy, Ala. on Tuesday to thank the workers who are manufacturing Javelin missiles being sent to Ukraine.
Biden said the purpose of the trip was to “thank them for producing the weapons that helped stop Russia’s advances in Ukrainian cities like Kyiv.”
Since the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, the shoulder-fired anti-tank Javelin missiles have proven to be among the most decisive weapons in the Ukrainian arsenal.
Biden said the Lockheed Martin employees’ “hard work has played a critical role in assuring Putin’s strategic failure in Ukraine, and they should know that we know it.” Biden’s remarks were part of a broader announcement that he is seeking a massive $33 billion aid package for Ukraine.
Ukraine’s prosecutor general has identified 10 Russian soldiers she said were involved in the atrocities in Bucha, Ukraine, according to the Associated Press. Iryna Venediktova appealed to the public on Facebook to help gather evidence against those soldiers whom she said were “involved in the torture of peaceful people.”
They were from Russia’s 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Ground Forces Brigade whose work President Vladimir Putin recently honoured, the AP said.
European markets are broadly higher today with shares in France leading the region. The CAC 40 is up 1.08% while Germany’s DAX is up 1.05%.
Yesterday, The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 615 points, or 1.9%, while the S&P 500 gained 2.5%, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 3.1%
Asian markets closed sharply higher today with shares in Hong Kong leading the region. The Hang Seng is up 4.01% while China’s Shanghai Composite is up 2.42% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 is up 1.75%.
Jersey’s cost of living rises
The cost of living in Jersey increased by 6% in the year ending in March, the highest increase since the 2008 economic crisis.
The previous period ended in December with a 3.8 % increase, but the new gain of 2.2 percentage points brings the annual growth to 6%, only 0.4 % lower than the third-quarter record in 2008 at the height of the financial crunch. Since 2000, this is the second-largest increase.
The most expensive items were housing, fuel and light, and motoring, with fuel and light expenses jumping by 21.9 %. Housing prices, which account for the largest share of the overall rise, increased by 6.8%, while transportation costs increased by 10.5 %.
Ben Shenton, vice-chair of Age Concern, voiced concern that this will disproportionately affect the elderly, with pensioners facing a 6.2% hike when figures are adjusted to match their expenditure obligations.
‘You need to remember that older people have not benefited from low interest rates because they are less likely to have mortgages, and their savings income has been decimated – especially when adjusted for inflation. It is possible that sustained inflation will push an increasing number of Islanders into poverty,’ Mr Shenton said.
Whereas December’s numbers showed Jersey’s inflation running a percentage point behind the UK average of 4.8%, the current Statistics Jersey figures show the gap decreasing to only 0.2%.
Inflation – Jersey has hit 6%. It’s the largest annual rise in the cost of living since 2008. The rise has been largely driven by soaring energy costs which are recorded as rising by 21.9%.
Retail Price Index – Statistics Jersey have published the March 2022 Retail Prices Index report. The All Items Retail Prices Index (RPI) is the main measure of inflation in Jersey. It measures the change from quarter to quarter in the price of the goods and services purchased by an average household in Jersey. Full details of eth report can be found on gov.je.
Chief Minister – Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré will seek re-election in St Lawrence Trinity and St John as a member of the Alliance Party. Senator Le Fondré says he believes it is important States Members with significant experience – professional and political – continue to serve the island to the best of their ability: “It has been a privilege to serve the island as Chief Minister over the last 4 years, a time unprecedented in the history of Jersey since WW II.
UK making fewer cars
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, car manufacturing in the UK has continued to plummet, with the sector still suffering from a global scarcity of semiconductors and other components.
In the first quarter of 2021, 207,347 new cars were created, down from 306,558 in the pandemic-affected same three months of 2021.
March 2022’s numbers were the lowest in 13 years, with production falling 33.4% as a result of a 41.4% drop in production for international markets.
Parts such as semiconductors, or computer chips, which are commonly employed in modern vehicles have proved difficult to come by.
The crisis in Ukraine is still affecting production, resulting in shortages of wiring harnesses and precious metals for battery production.
Models for the domestic UK market declined by 20.3%, while output for exports plummeted by 35%.
Exports to the United States dropped by 63.8% in March, while exports to the European Union fell by 24.5%.
UK house price growth slows as cost of living crisis hits market
In April, house prices continued to rise, but the rate of increase slowed as increasing inflation and the cost of living issue began to damage the market, according to data.
According to Nationwide, the average price paid for a home in the UK increased 0.3% to £267,620 in April, marking the ninth consecutive month of rising.
However, according to the monthly property index from the building society, house price growth has dropped from a 1.1% increase in March to the weakest increase since September last year.
Energy considerations are high on homebuyer checklists in the United Kingdom, according to a survey.
House prices are up 12.1% year over year, a little deceleration from the 14.3% increase in March.
A dearth of housing stock and a pandemic-fueled search by city dwellers for larger houses, gardens, and more rural living have fueled the surge.