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Dr Allinson's statement on COVID-19 - 5 March 2021

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The Council of Ministers acted decisively last night when it became apparent that the safety of our school children had been compromised.

Increasing cases amongst pupils at a range of locations left no alternative.

I apologise for the disruption this has caused to families and students.

Only four days ago we identified the first pupil who had become infected, almost certainly at home.

Since then the virus has been bought into a number of schools on the Island.

My concern last night was the risk that schools might be feeding the spread of this virus into our community.

The safety of our children, teaching and support staff has been and continues to be our paramount concern.

We need to do all that we can to minimise the risk of the virus spreading, but we must also weigh up the consequences of the actions we take and the wider impact they might have on our society.

Last night, putting in place a firebreak to stop the chain of infection in our schools was determined as an important and, we hope, effective way to reduce community transmission.

Contact tracing and testing will continue, but self-isolation and breaking the person to person spread of COVID-19 remain our best weapons to get on top of the current situation.

The Council of Ministers will be meeting over the weekend to review how we can ensure this action does not in any way compromise front line service delivery and will ensure we update all those families affected ahead of next week.