Throughout Christmas week Gef is talking to people about their experiences of being separated from their families. Both of these people spoke to us before the new border restrictions were announced on Tuesday December 22.

Here a woman tells us how her son’s health problems have made the year much harder.

‘It is becoming a dire desperate situation now, we are alone here with no help or support, with absolutely no family around me except for my two kids. I have for the very first time in my life felt what anxiety and depression is like. If they don’t open borders soon people will be on the verge of cracking, we may even consider leaving for good early next year if we are still in this situation.

‘My son has been in and out of hospital with asthma attacks which left me having to be with him in hospital and my husband having to take time off work to deal with him. I have never suffered with any sort of anxiety or panic attacks before but recently I’ve had some bad panic attacks and anxiety causing insomnia etc. I’m ready to run away.’

A man who contacted Gef said he wants to return to the island to see his family and has had two applications to return rejected.

‘I used to live on the Isle of Man until about 15 years ago when I moved to the UK for work. I have a sister, two brothers, two daughters and three grandchildren all living on the island. Sadly my mum passed away this time last year who also lived on the island.

‘At present I am in Millom, Cumbria, in the process of selling properties and was making plans to move back to the island. Around the beginning of November I completed my application form to return. I mentioned everything and was refused because the current entry restrictions are still on Level 4 on the island. I did appeal but was again told no.

‘About a week ago I did get back in touch and was told the restrictions were still at Level 4 so I could not return.

‘Obviously this had a massive impact on my family. They all live on the island and I will have to remain alone in Cumbria this Christmas. 

‘I have learned of two people that were granted access on work visa’s – one from Liverpool and one from Leicester, both with high infection rates and Level 3 restrictions (Liverpool is now at Level 2). I did explain this to the government when applying and Millom has one of the lowest cases of Covid infections in the country. But still got a no. What is wrong is both these applicants are not Manx, if i was renting or buying a flat anyone can get on the island. I said technically I will be buying but I need to look and speak to solicitors first hand, but still no, it’s very disappointing, I just hope Level 3 is achieved soon.’

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