Howard, Dr Henny

Well good afternoon everyone 

Two hours late to the party as there was a lot of chat in Keys today 

Monday will be our 21st day without an unexplained case

SIGNIFICANT 

Dr H & Numbers 

Twice incubation period = local elimination. 

Seeing a significant number of tests being done daily and none have been positive 

Positive indicators that we don’t have any reservoirs of community transmission 

  • 29 Awaiting results 
  • No New Cases
  • 12 Active Cases
  • 0 Hospital 

Howard

Nice one Dr H, great news

We planned to exit on Monday, April 19

But we needed data, rather than picking a random date 

COMEN met today to review the latest data 

Based on the data our society can fully reopen on Monday, April 19

Schools, businesses, office working, sport – the lot. 

Borders will remain at Level 4 with self-isolation rules

COMEN know it’s been tough, we understand the strain lockdown has had on our community

So we have another announcement…

Different households can gather inside from Saturday. No more than 10, it isn’t a free-for-all. 

Still recommend face coverings 

Throughout the pandemic, the priority has been the preservation of life 

Heart-wrenching to lose our islanders to this virus 

The community has worked together to protect people

There have been costs to mental health, emotional well being, livelihoods etc 

Sacrifices made by everyone has bought us time 

We didn’t think vaccines would come this quickly 

As things stand today, 1st dose to 93% of the most vulnerable – GAME CHANGER 

We’re beginning the journey from elimination to mitigation 

Vaccines and personal choices will be the way forward 

No vaccine is 100% effective, some will get ill and some might die 

But vaccination programme alters the odds for the vast majority 

Adjust will take time, but adjust we must *we feel a new catchphrase coming on*

COMEN working with Tynwald on future response options 

There will be a greater focus on personal responsibility

We need everyone to maintain healthy habits 

Our vax programme makes it less likely for strict lockdowns in the future

Variants are a concern. But boosters should help

Some people will still be nervous – if you want to wear a mask still – that’s Ok

Everyone will need space and time. Just be nice. 

Questions 

Simon: Great news about near normal. Condolences to the family of the person who passed away. Do you think it will derail public confidence?

Howard: I’ve got a statement. 

David’s Statement – I stated that I was aware of one death after someone received the vaccine, and they had anaphylaxis. I’ve had it clarified this afternoon although they occurred around the same time, in fact, these were two separate cases. The person who had anaphylaxis I’m happy to confirm did not die and recovered. The death I have now been informed was a different case.

I have had it confirmed late this afternoon although the person died shortly after receiving the vaccine, investigations have shown no link between the cause of death and the vaccine and there were other underlying health conditions. Sorry to the Honorable House for the confusion this may have caused. 

GOOD NEWS. But bad news. A person has died.

Simon: Moving on to borders, when do you think we will have close friends and relatives? Can they stay with families, permission, iso etc. What’s the process? 

HQ: We’re working on it as we speak. Tynwald has been workshopping. Still aiming for May. But still waiting for more data. Hoping to decrease quarantine days down. More detail by the end of next week about borders opening for families to come and visit.

Sam: Heard from Women that they have been advised not to get the vaccine if they are pregnant or planning a child? What’s Public Health’s official advice on this?

Dr H: Pregnant Women with no underlying health conditions should not be vaccinated during the pregnancy. High risk/ vulnerable women who are pregnant should be vaccinated. Manx Care has a high-risk pathway for those who are at risk. And will be guided through that pathway by the medical professionals. 

No advice to hold off vaccination while you are trying to get pregnant. You don’t know how long it will take to conceive. 

Sam: How are you encouraging younger people to get jabbed? How does the AZ news impact the programme?

HQ: We need to get enough signed up at the same time so we can open a tray. I’m 54 so I’m not an expert in communicating with the young, hot, Manx lot who want a shot. We’ll be seeing where the kids get their news so we can communicate with them. I’ve had Covid and got long Covid and it isn’t fun if you can get jabbed.

Dr H: Public messaging is a fine art. We have people in our comms team with behavioural science expertise to ensure the message hits home. 

Paul: EVENING. If you’re driven by data, why not just open right open on Saturday?

HQ: We’re human, the grandparents wanted to see the little ones before they went straight back to school. Trying to be as helpful as possible. We’re all fed up with it. Get a bit of normality. We do our best to look after the community.

Paul: You talked about keeping some restrictions in place, what were you planning?

HQ: We were looking at masks and distancing. Family might be able to come in a few weeks as the vaccination programme has steamrolled ahead. People are protected from serious risk. 

Helen: A covid memorial wall in London. Are you planning one here?

HQ: Something that we will look at. We have been flat out fighting the virus. We’ll come up with proposals to commemorate those who lost their lives. It would be fitting, would like to see what the public and Tynwald think.

Helen: Worried about the South African variant?

Dr H: Still assessing. Kent was highly transmissible, 98% of cases are Kent variants. No signs that the South African variant has the competitive edge. Not a headline cause for concern.

HQ: We know we’re going to get Covid back. Boosters might be needed towards the end of the year for high-risk groups. Have to expect that we will be living with Covid for a long, long, time. 

Leanne: Someone with a kid in the UK. But can’t afford 14 days of isolation. Want to know if isolation will be reduced or if there will be financial compensation?

HQ: By the beginning of May, family members can hopefully come. And the isolation period could be reduced. 

Dr H: When the risk is low, we can manage via risk. Isolation rules might change depending on where people have travelled from. Most people come here from the UK and Ireland so we need to see how they handle things.

HQ: Been working on a traffic light system – we’ll be looking at that going forward 

Tim: HOK sitting, we knew it would be a long one. Why didn’t you announce this as a statement in Keys? And then have a briefing tomorrow?

HQ: I asked to leave at 4 but the speaker said no. We promised a public briefing, if I did it in Tynwald only the 10 people that listen to Manx Radio would have heard it. We wanted to spread the message across all outlets and take questions.

Tim: Long Covid, what is being put in place?

HQ: All areas that we will need to work on together as an Island. There are scars out there that we don’t yet know about. Need strategies for Long Covid and mental health. 

Dr H: Working group established for long covid, meeting next week. Good guidance. A multidisciplinary approach required. 

Closing 

Yesterday marks 100 days since the vax programme began. Remarkable. Thanks all.

This weekend is the next chapter.

We’ve been in it together, we must come through it together. 

Thanks, everyone, success is down to you. 

The virus will return, remain vigilant. 

Stay safe, have a good one

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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