Jersey’s Health Minister has denied claims that perhaps the island’s shutdown was implemented too late.

Deputy Richard Renouf talked to ITV News in a thorough break conversation as he prepares to retire.

The first reaction to corona virus was criticised as being excessively delayed, occurring three weeks after Covid arrived in Jersey about a week just after UK’s shutdown.

He believes the balance was correct:

“We were concerned that if we went too soon, the urgency aspect of the situation might wear off before the true danger arrived.

“The challenge was to identify the correct timing since we had to know that it would generate all kinds of additional problems for families, children who were abruptly taken out of school, hospitals, and important services.

“In the end, I don’t believe we were too far off.”

Deputy Renouf, on the other hand, admits to being mistaken about the restriction on joyous gatherings on Christmas Eve. These accidentally discriminated against Poles and Portuguese islands, since this is the most significant holiday in their calendar.

“We failed to consider the considerable Portuguese and Polish community on the isle who wanted to enjoy on Xmas eve as those who customarily do, and we simply did not recognise that and had everything close down on Christmas eve and said people can celebrate on Christmas day and boxing day, which I believe was a mistake.”

He also believes that the £11 million commitment to the underutilised Nightingale facility was worthwhile and that health care should be the top priority o the next Assembly.

“We need to keep those resources going not just for the possibility of a future pandemic, but also to know how important health promotion is to the isle – just trying to keep people well, retaining people living independent, providing the best housing and education we can – that’s all covered up in the public health.”

With little over two weeks before Jersey’s election, the clock is ticking to see who will be appointed as Health Minister.

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