Howard, David, Dr Henrietta 

Well good afternoon everyone 

Hope you enjoyed the sun and caught up with loved ones 

I did, I took some cake to me Mum’s garden 

Numbers

  • 1 new case – it is linked
  • 109 active cases
  • 1 in hospital 

Vaccines

Continue apace 

All over 40 letters have gone out 

Letters for ages 35 – 39 will be going out this week

One in every two vaccinated – will be a milestone later this week 

Anyone in Priority One – who hasn’t registered for vaccine – please do so 

When you attend the hubs, listen to staff, follow the one-way system 

Someone was aggressive when the staff asked them to wear a mask – so they were refused a vax and the police were called 

Our vax frontline staffs are legends – be nice to them 

Care Home visiting restrictions still necessary, but they will be reviewed soon 

Public & Private Health workers – Thanks one and all for your hard work 

Howard 

That one unknown one was a rascal, wasn’t it. We’d be at 13 days clear otherwise 

In a few more days we should know that the case on the 29th – shouldn’t be a cause for concern 

We won’t reset the clock every time we see a case 

Dr Henny 

Curves coming down nicely 

That unknown niggle – my moorland fire analogy – the more days we between us and any further cases the better 

Contact tracing has closed down onward transmission 

Very happy with the positivity rate % – nice and low

The more days we put between ourselves and 

Howard 

Good job we banned burning peat. 

Great to see construction back to today – they need to wash their hands and wear masks tho.

Garden centres too – but give staff the space they need 

COMEN will look at data on Thursday, still looking good for a 19th April opening 

Non-essential retail should follow next – but not likely to be beauty/hairdressers

This needs to be our last lockdown. We need to exit safely 

Some businesses might want to wait a little longer – that’s fine – it isn’t an obligation 

I know people remain anxious. Make the right decisions for you 

Schools 

As things stand, Dr Al’s plan remains the same 

Phased return for Primary from the 13th April – first vulnerable children and key worker children

Secondary school from the 13th for year 11 and 13 – who need to do their assessments so they can be graded

Hopefully, all children can go back to school Monday 19th April – only if data says it’s safe to do so

COMEN will discuss again on Thursday and let you know the outcome then 

The Vax team have smashed through 40K doses – Impressive 

Those most at risk from Covid are getting protected at pace

When you get the letter – hit the phone 

Questions 

Paul: Dr Glover has said some damaging things. What is your reckon?

HQ: I’ve only met her once at an awards ceremony. One for David…

Paul: I want your answer big man…

HQ: Never had any conversation with her. Two sides to every story. We’ve all heard one side of the story and I know the DHSC will dispute. Let’s see what the Department has to say. Let’s see what the other side has to say. 

Paul: A year since you went down with Covid? And Long Covid – how are you now hun?

HQ: No taste or smell back. And suffering from other symptoms too. Other people have had it a lot worse than me. I still have certain symptoms of Long Covid and I hope they go away with time.

Paul: Give us the details Howard? I want specifics?

HQ: Erm, not sure I wanna announce that to the nation, Pablo. Muscles are sore and stuff. 

Helen: Reports on AZ Blood Clot? Channel 4 News said the UK MHRA looked at removing advice for under 30s to take it. 

David: MHRA issued a statement saying the risk of a blood clot is very small, wait for the science.

Helen: Will hospitality businesses be the last to re-open?

HQ: Yeah, young people in nightclubs will be last. Restaurants might be a week ahead of nightclubs. If we have no more unknown cases next week. Hopefully, by the 19th we will be open again but it’s all on the data.

Rob: Unexplained case a niggle but doesn’t reset the clock. Tell us more, is it 5 days or 10 days?

HQ: It’s the history that goes with it. I can’t give an exact and it depends on the individual circumstances. It depends on the data around the case and where it happens. There is no perfect answer, but maybe David can give a perfect answer.

David: Perfect answer Chief – But I’m still gonna talk 

*3 minutes later 

Dr Henny: Same. A single sporadic case wouldn’t make you put the brakes on. 

HQ: We need to learn to live with Covid. Vaccination programme – changes risk assessment too? 

Rob: Schools coming back – Is it the same for nurseries and childcare?

HQ: Full deets on the website. 

David: Already regulations where professional childcare services can be used. The whole of the education establishment will be a phased return.

John Moss: Did deckcharing have the backing of law?

HQ: Yep, law passed by COMEN.

John Moss: Able to go to COMEN before Tynwald?

HQ: COMEN can make them law. When they get to Tynwald they can contest if they don’t like them.

John Moss: In the 65 – 69 vax age group there seems to be a disparity between invites and jabs. Seems to be well down, why is that?

David: Vaccination is a personal choice. We’re never gonna get to 100% as a result. Urge anyone who has a letter to book.

John Moss: 26% haven’t taken it up, isn’t that worrying?

David: Some people are still waiting to get vaxxed.

John Moss: Are there follow up invitations?

David: We will look to work with the GP’s on this 

HQ: There have been a number of people in isolation unable to get the vaccine – they’ll be waiting for a cancellation.

Simon: Do you concur with the comment from the UK Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi that it would be remiss not to look at using covid certificates?

HQ: I’m not saying they are all over the place on covid certs BUT at this moment of time there isn’t any detail. We’ll have to monitor the situation. We can react quickly when it happens but there is nothing solid. 

David: Very important we don’t take his comments out of context. Question was in relation to backlash from backbenchers and the opposition. He said ‘It is only right that we look at all options’. 

Simon: Do you have a view?

David: Personally I’d need to be convinced as a vaccine doesn’t stop someone catching the virus or reducing transmissibility. And we don’t want a two-tier society, vaccination is a choice.

Simon. Businesses are hovering on the brink. With the vaccination programme, will we need to close down the economy again if there is another cluster of cases?

HQ: We don’t want to go back into another lockdown. Worst case we might put measures in place for social distancing etc.

Sam: Clarification – Do libraries fall under non-essential?

HQ: They are non-essential. But at the moment libraries are inside and not essential. They are important but not essential. 

Sam: England offering free 2 tests a week, and Switzerland are offering residents up to 10 tests per month. You’ve said that the taxpayer shouldn’t be burdened with the cost of tests for return travellers. Should we move with the times?

HQ: If it’s a cost that does good for the people of the Isle of Man. But we have to see the evidence to know it’s worth the cost. We need to do what’s right rather than what is seen to be right. 

Dr Henny: There are a lot of issues about population screen and lateral flow. Lateral flow devices pick up people with high levels of virus which is good but do miss others who are infected. A test could be badly done. All manner of issues. In terms of mass population screening – it is completely experimental. 

One of the major problems is the risk of picking up false positives. It’s a fraught area as it’s never been done. People will vote with their feet and not come forward for testing. Only 1 in 4 come forward for testing in the UK. All a big experiment. 

Sam: If pubs and restaurants can re-open, why will lifestyle be behind them?

Dr Henny: Lifestyle service requires close contact with clients. It’s possible to do a risk assessment. Eyebrow threading and brow shaping, massage services require close proximity and effectively face to face contact. More mitigations in a restaurant setting. 

HQ: Order – non-essential, hairdressers, restaurants, nightclub 

Josh: Have we moved into the mitigation phase?

HQ: We are trying to eliminate the virus from the Island. Then if the UK infection rate is right we can welcome family and friends. We are close to mitigating it. 

David: Never gonna be a clean line, always a transition between mitigation and elimination. 

Dr Henny: It’s like balancing a seesaw. The threat of UK vs Level of Protection in population.

Josh: Outdoor pubs opening in the UK next week. Are we falling behind? Do you feel pressure to open up quicker?

HQ: It’s not a race. We had 200 days without restrictions. I don’t consider it to be a race. Manx solutions / Manx situation. 

Al Bell: Less than four weeks until the beginning of May. When can more people visit?

HQ: COMEN looking at it now, we are still on track for the end of April/ beginning of May for level 3A. Never say never. 

David: We are data-driven. It will literally depend on what happens. 

Al Bell: How much notice can people expect?

David: Always tried to give as much notice as possible. Important that we get it right. 

Al Bell: A few weeks ago you mentioned UK based modelling agencies. Have they made any recommendations?

Dr Henny: Agency isn’t the right word. We are working with Prof Mike from Warwick Uni. They submit modelling data. Still working with them to get them the data they need. 

Closing 

Looks more like winter than spring 

But take a walk for your mental health 

This coverage is not intended to be a verbatim transcript and should not be treated as such, you can listen to the full briefing here.

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