Unemployment has seen another increase following the island’s circuit breaker lockdown. The figure had been steadily dropping from last year’s record high, but February saw an increase of 274 people with 1,034 registered as out of work. This is also up 630 on January 2020. The unemployment rate for January 2021 is 2.4%, which is an increase of 0.6% on the previous month December 2020. The unemployment rate is the proportion of economically active population registered unemployed. The International Labour Organisation estimates that 1,929 people are currently out of work.
We Don’t Know How Many Have Refused Jabs
A FoI request from Gef for figures on how many people have been offered, but refused a Covid-19 vaccine jab has returned no results. The DHSC said: ‘The data in relation to the number of dissenters is currently held by individual GP Practices and is not held by the DHSC. Although there is currently no requirement for anyone to dissent from having the vaccine patients can contact their GP and advise that they wish to dissent. This will be added to the patient’s GP record and will be useful when the programme is at the stage where all relevant patients have been called for a vaccination and a catch up process begins.’
Smoke Free DHSC
Health and care staff, patients, service users and members of the public are being reminded that DHSC sites around the island will become smoke free from 1 April.
The policy, which will be adopted by Manx Care, aims to foster healthy and safe environments for all and prevent avoidable smoking-related ill-health by encouraging people to quit smoking. At first, smoking will no longer be permitted on any hospital site, at healthcare facilities on Westmoreland Road in Douglas and the DHSC’s Crookall House headquarters or any of the island’s GP practices.
From 1 October all other premises operated by DHSC and Manx Care will become smoke free with the exception of residential facilities, including Reayrt-ny-Baie, Southlands and Cummal Mooar. April 1 2022 will see the remaining residential premises become completely smoke free, including nursing and care homes and supported living premises.
Vaping will be permitted but only in designated areas. For advice on quitting smoking, see Quit4You.
Hub build estimated cost over £200,000
The total cost for the island’s vaccine hubs is not yet known, but the DHSC estimates they cost over £200,000. An FoI request from Gef asked for the total cost of building and opening the island’s vaccine hubs. In response, the DHSC said: ‘Unfortunately at this time the Department does not have complete or accurate final outturn costs for the creation of the three vaccine hubs and will not be in a position to provide this until the final invoices have been paid.
‘The current known expenditure for each of the sites, including items such as signage,
IT equipment, waste receptacles etc., is as follows:
• A) Newlands – £8,068.23
• B) The Airport – £81,886.64
• C) Chester Street – £36,803.78
‘The demobilisation costs for the Newlands site are unknown at this time as are the
final build costs for the Airport and Chester Street Hub. In order to provide help and
assistance the estimated build costs are as follows:
• A) Newlands – £2,500
• B) The Airport – £90,000
• C) Chester Street – £120,000
‘In order to cover the demobilisation and return to normal of the two major hub sites
an estimate has been made of £50,000 in demobilisation costs, with an additional
£2,500 for the return of Newlands to its pre-vaccination layout.’
Hotel Quarantine Starts
British and Irish citizens and UK residents who arrive in England from high-risk Covid countries now have to quarantine in hotels. The first arrivals have been taken to their hotel near Heathrow Airport. In Scotland, arrivals from all countries by air must quarantine in hotels; there are no international flights into Wales or Northern Ireland. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the rules ‘will bolster the quarantine system and provide another layer of security against new variants at the border’. Manx residents are not exempt from the quarantine and they must then also enter into isolation when they arrive back on the island.
Might May be the end? Maybe
Tory MPs are calling on Boris Johnson to end lockdown measures before May and reopen society. Senior backbencher Steve Baker said he wants the prime minister to ‘let us reclaim our lives, once and for all’. Matt Hancock has said a roadmap out of the current restrictions will be outlined on 22 February.
On This Day
Interesting event in British history as 50 years ago in 1971, Britain formally embraced the decimal currency we still use today. The old pound (£), shilling (s) and pence (d) coins were to be phased out over the next 18 months. The new currency had actually been in circulation since 1968 but prices were still marked in shillings and pence.