Wednesday, December 1

The death of Covid in the Isle of Man deals a severe blow after a severe blockade | Isle of man


On Friday, the Prime Minister of the Isle of Man announced bad news. A patient at the island’s Noble hospital had died of coronavirus, he said, the first Manx Covid death since Nov.5.

Howard Quayle said he knew the news “would be a blow” to the Isle of Man’s 85,000 residents. “The death of a member of our island community is a painful reminder of how dangerous this virus is,” he added.

It is also a warning to the UK, as it expects society to slowly reopen, how quickly Covid can re-establish itself.

It was only in early February that the Isle of Man emerged from the blockade. Pubs, shops and restaurants reopened, social distancing measures were lifted, and face coverings were no longer mandatory. At the time, Quayle declared that the reopening of society was possible because: “There is a collective determination, a sense of duty and a community spirit. The public has followed all the rules. “

Just over a month later, on March 3, the island entered a 21-day “circuit breaker” lockdown to limit the spread of the virus after an increase in cases, and the government believed that the “index case” ( patient zero in the current wave) was probably a ferry worker.

As of Friday afternoon, there were 704 active Covid cases on the Isle of Man, with 12 people in the hospital, one of whom was in intensive care.

The admission that the island’s ferry service had likely brought Covid back has caused anger on the Isle of Man, with some questioning why the ferry workers were exempted from the strict 21-day quarantine that applies to all. the other arrivals.

The fury is compounded by the fact that the Manx government has operated one of the toughest Covid enforcement regimes in the world in a bid to keep the island infection-free. Fifty-six people have been jailed for violating coronavirus restrictions in the past year, 18 of whom were sent to prison for not following self-isolation instructions when ordered to do so.

But the same rules don’t apply to ferry workers after the Isle of Man government. last month decided that those who lived on the island did not have to isolate themselves when they returned home after a shift.

According to a government spokesperson, the agreement with the Isle of Man Steam Packages Company, which operates the ferries, “included a comprehensive risk assessment agreed with Public Health to mitigate the risk on board the vessel around the practices labor, including travel to and from the ship; a surveillance test regime for the entire crew at the beginning and end of the shift cycle and the extension of the vaccination program ”.

The regime was designed to “mitigate the risks associated with the service while recognizing the crucial role of the ferry operator as part of the island’s critical national infrastructure,” he added.

The border of the island has been closed to almost all non-residents since March of last year. But the ferries continue to travel back and forth for what the island calls the “controlled return” of residents, as well as key workers necessary for the preservation of life, public safety and critical national infrastructure.

Anyone who returns to the island must isolate himself. They can complete a 21-day period of mandatory self-isolation or pay £ 150 for a series of tests – one within two days of arrival, a second on day seven, and a third on day 13, allowing for an early end of self-management. isolation after final negative test.

The latest death brings to 26 the total number of people who have lost their lives due to the coronavirus on the island.


www.theguardian.com

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