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  1. Changes to GST import charges deferred

    A planned lowering of the threshold over which Jersey's Goods and Services Tax (GST) is charged on imported goods has been deferred until next year, the island's government has announced.

    The threshold was expected to drop from £240 to £135 on 1 July, but will now remain in place until 1 January 2021.

    Treasury and Resources Minister Susie Pinel said the change was being deferred to reduce pressures on hauliers, postal workers and customs offices.

    Deputy Pinel also recognised it would be inappropriate to add import charges at a time "when people are increasingly reliant on home deliveries."

  2. Stone with message of togetherness 'treasured' by finder

    painted stone with message.

    A woman in Jersey has found a "beautifully painted" stone with a message about togetherness and social distancing during the coronavirus crisis.

    Bronia Macon, who found the stone in St Clement, said it was accompanied by a note asking the person who found to take it home and keep it.

    The message reads: "And the world came together as the people stayed apart."

    Mrs Macon said she would "treasure it always" and would be something to "remember when this is all over".

    She added: "Thank you so much to the kind young person who left this beautifully painted stone in St Clement's Woods today with a little note asking the finder to take it home."

  3. Islanders 'should be proud' of efforts during crisis

    Jersey's Chief Minister John Le Fondre has reminded islanders it is "only just over five weeks" since the first positive case of coronavirus was confirmed in the island.

    Medical director Patrick Armstrong paid credit to the island's effort in that time, saying: "I think we should be proud of what we've done."

    Deputy Richard Renouf, Minister for Health and Social Services, urged islanders to continue to stay at home and encouraged families to talk about their wishes for organ donation if a member passed away.

    Senator Le Fondre thanked islanders for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

    "If we actually look at where we are, I think to date we are in the best place we can be.

    "Things may change, and we will deal with that as we have done to date, calmly and on the basis of advice we receive from the professionals."

  4. Demographic breakdown of positive cases to be published

    The Government of Jersey will start issuing more details about people who have tested positive for coronavirus.

    Chief Minister John Le Fondre said recovery rates and demographic data would be received on Friday and would be made available to the public on Monday.

    He said the confidentiality of the small number of patients involved had previously stopped this information being published.

  5. Chief minister defends number of public appearances

    Jersey's chief minister said he does not believe his number of appearances during the coronavirus pandemic has been a "mistake".

    "Just because I haven't been in front of you answering your questions, I have been in front of States members," he said in response to a question about his visibility.

    Senator John Le Fondre has appeared in five press conferences relating to the coronavirus, with other ministers completing eight in total, he said.

    "The balance has always been between making sure we do get communication out there in some shape or form, versus making sure we're as well prepared as we can.

    "There certainly hasn't been a vacuum of information, although I accept I haven't been in front of you as much as you would have liked."

    He said be would doing "about two or three press conferences a week" in the future.

  6. Nightingale hospital 'comforting' for health staff

    The construction of a Nightingale hospital in Jersey is "comforting" to front-line health staff, medical director Patrick Armstrong said.

    He said he was "far more comfortable" having the facility available if it becomes necessary, rather than getting to the situation where the island's only hospital became full.

    Mr Armstrong said: "It is comforting to us as healthcare workers to know all this planning is in place and being able to respond appropriately to whatever we face."

    Nightingale hospital under construction

    Chief Minister John Le Fondre said the temporary hospital was about "calmly preparing" for one of the "worst scenarios" Jersey could face.

    Senator Le Fondre said: "At this stage we very much hope it doesn't.

    "As we know, sometimes it can change quite swiftly, if things change."

    Health Minister Richard Renouf added the preparations were appropriate because Jersey was still in the "early days" of the crisis.

    He said: "We can't be complacent, this is hugely challenging, so it's right to be prepared."

  7. Discussions held on moving patients to UK

    Discussions are being held between Jersey's government and the NHS about which hospitals in the UK would be able to take patients if the island did not have sufficient equipment.

    The Minister for Health and Social Services said: "I think it's right that Jersey prepares to the greatest extent we can on the basis that we would not be able to rely on the NHS in these circumstances".

    He added there were "real dangers" to moving someone from the island who was using a ventilator.

  8. Five ventilators expected to arrive in Jersey at weekend

    Health Minister Richard Renouf has announced five ventilators are due to arrive in Jersey from the UK over the weekend.

    Deputy Renouf said the NHS supply chain has been Jersey's "most reliable" source of the essential machines.

    However, Mr Renouf cautioned the government had previously been given incorrect dates about the arrive of key medical equipment in the past because of delays.

    He said: "But we can be as sure as we can be that we will be receiving these."

    Ventilators

    Medical director Patrick Armstrong emphasised the vital pieces of breathing equipment were "very complex" and not all of them are the same.

    Mr Armstrong said: "We have to be careful about the types of machine we get, are they compatible with all the other equipment that we have and are our staff trained to use them.

    "It will be fantastic to get more ventilators, but we also have to be able to use them safely," he added.

  9. Increased bed capacity was 'always part of the plan'

    Deputy Richard Renouf says the additional bed capacity in the Nightingale hospital is not a change of strategy.

    The minister for health and social services said the government had always planned to increase the number of beds, but the decision had been whether this would take place in care homes or a field hospital.

    "Our strategy remains that we contain the virus, that we delay its spread, and we shield the vulnerable", he said.

  10. Ending lockdown: 'We won't put money before people'

    Chief Minister John Le Fondre emphasised the Government of Jersey would "not put money before people" when deciding to come out of lockdown.

    Senator Le Fondre said: "Obviously we've got to look at the overall health outcomes.

    "But that could also take account of things like mental issues from the problems of being in lockdown for too long.

    Mr Le Fondre added it would be too "simplistic" to give an exact date of when measures could be lifted.

  11. Antibody tests cost government about £1.5m

    Pin prick antibody testing for coronavirus

    A total of 150,000 antibody tests has cost Jersey's government somewhere between £1.4m and £1.7m.

    Chief minister John Le Fondre said 10,000 of 50,000 ordered separately had already arrived in the island, which were currently being tested for their reliability.

    "It's a completely new virus, therefore all of this stuff is new", Senator Le Fondre said.

    "You've sometimes got to take a risk."

  12. Government 'working hard' to improve PPE supply

    Public Health Services said they are working hard to improve the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) to care homes in Jersey.

    Medical director Patrick Armstrong said they could always do more to improve their communication over PPE, but he felt they had done so.

    Mr Armstrong described obtaining and distributing needed medical equipment as "incredibly challenging".

    He added the government's monitoring, ordering and distribution was becoming "more reactive", but it had taken time to get there in unprecedented circumstances.

    Medical worker wears personal protective equipment

    Mr Armstrong said: "It's been a major logistical challenge to get PPE to the right people at the right time.

    "It's not something we've ever had to do before."

    Mr Armstrong also apologised to people who thought the government's handling of supplies was lacking.

    "But I do hope they're seeing we're trying out very best to improve it," he added.

  13. Public health decisions based on 'best medical advice'

    All public decisions in Jersey are based on the most up-to-date medical advice available to the government, Chief Minister John Le Fondre said.

    Senator Le Fondre said: "It's based on the circumstances we are advised on and the circumstances we can see.

    "If new information or advice were to come through, sometimes you have to make new decisions and quick decisions."

  14. Jersey 'cautious' over virus statistics

    Graph

    The Government of Jersey is being "cautious" over its reading of statistics indicating the spread of coronavirus has flattened, Chief Minister John Le Fondre said.

    Senator Le Fondre said they needed to collect a "couple more weeks" of data to interpret them better and see the impact of the measures that have been put in place.

    He said: "It's still a bit early days and it's still relatively small numbers."

  15. Ambulance availability a potential "limiting factor"

    Jersey's chief minister has said ambulance availability could become a "limiting factor" if cases of coronavirus spike.

    Senator John Le Fondre said this influenced the decision to locate the Nightingale hospital at Millbrook Playing Fields.

    "It is far better to have it closer and easier to get to," he said.

    "It took us to the decision of an open site and a pre-fabricated building, which we can potentially expand if we need to."

  16. Nightingale alternatives not 'significantly' cheaper

    Jersey's Nightingale hospital under construction

    The cost of Jersey's Nightingale hospital would not be "materially different" if it had been planned for a different location, Chief Minister John Le Fondre said.

    Senator Le Fondre said when different places were suggested for the temporary facility, proposals to use the Fort Regent leisure centre were not "significantly cheaper".

    The current location of Millbrook was also deemed better for patient care and overall safety.

    Mr Le Fondre said: "It's going to be expensive wherever you do it."

    "What you're looking at in terms of that differential is the best clinical outcomes for patient safety."

  17. Jersey health care in 'best position' possible

    Chief Minister John Le Fondre stressed Jersey's health service is "nowhere near" being so "over stretched" where triage of critical care patients would be necessary.

    Senator Le Fondre said: "At the moment, and i do emphasise this could change any day and does change every day, we are probably in the best position we could be at this stage."

  18. Critical care decisions to be made by clinician group

    Decisions on which patients should receive critical care if demand exceeds capacity will be made by a group of clinicians, Jersey's medical director has said.

    Patrick Armstrong said a new ethical framework launched by the government would ensure healthcare individuals were not left to make those decisions on their own.

    He said: "We have put in place a process which will guide how resources are used and that the decisions taken are fair, equitable, ethical and legal.

    "It will ensure that as a government, employer and community, we will stand by those who potentially need to be making very difficult decisions before, during and after the event."

  19. 'Cruel' to leave decisions over care to doctors

    Individual doctors will not be left to make to make rationing and care choices alone should Jersey's health service experience a surge in care needs, Health and Community Services has announced.

    Medical director Patrick Armstrong said if the island experiences a spike in demand for critical care above that which it can provide, guidance over decision making would be provided to healthcare workers.

    Mr Armstrong said: "It would be cruel and unfair to leave individual clinicians to make ad-hoc rationing choices during a period of surge."

    He was speaking as an ethical framework for critical care during the Covid-19 crisis was released.