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'Haven't Quite Got To The Stage' To Release Covid Restrictions

Jersey's Director of Public Health says while things are looking much better when it comes to Covid-19, they're not quite to the stage where restrictions can be released.

The number of active Covid cases continues to fall - there are now 2,273 known infections.

Masks are still mandatory in shops and other indoor public spaces, and it's still recommended that people work from home where possible.

Professor Peter Bradley says they need to find solutions appropriate to Jersey.

"We haven't got quite back to the level that we were at before this wave started, but we review the restrictions every week.

We have a STAC committee which is scientific advice and then we go to Ministers and we make an assessment each week about where we are."

When asked by Channel 103, Professor Bradley says he would be hopeful of restrictions being lifted before the end of the month if the trend of falling infections continued.

"It is looking like a fairly steep decline at the moment, so that is fairly good news."

Work from home guidance has been scrapped in England and will end in Guernsey next week.

People in England will no longer be required to wear face masks from Thursday 27 January.

They're no longer mandatory in secondary school classrooms in England either.

In Jersey, secondary school students and staff, including in higher education, and members of staff in primary schools still have to wear masks in classrooms and communal areas.

Cases in education have surged in the last couple of weeks.

There is an average of more than 100 a day.

Professor Bradley says they want to release Covid restrictions in schools when the rates of infection fall, but it's important not to have sick staff and children.

"We've always had the view that children's education is the thing that we really need to focus on and obviously the restrictions in schools, at times, enable that to happen.

When we have a full teaching complement and children are able to attend school, that is the best chance they have of having that education, but it is a question of balance."

The STAC committee is also considering how to use air filters in schools 'more effectively'.

Scientists say they can reduce the spread of Covid.

Professor Bradley says they are in use, and although they're not a solution in themselves, they do help and can improve the indoor environment.

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