Since there’s no briefing this week, we thought we’d look at where we are now and where we expect the borders to be at the end of May and ponder why we know so little about what Level 2 will actually look like.
Where are we now?
Currently the island is operating a Level 3 border policy. Essentially this means travellers to the island, providing they take a test either on arrival or the next day and one on day 6, are required to go into iso for 7 days. If both of these tests are negative then they are mostly free; while they can go out and about, they aren’t allowed to go into ‘high risk’ places such as schools, the hospital or the pub for three days. If they choose not to take the tests then it’s a 21 day stay in iso.
Well, according to the borders framework and following ‘data not dates’, though it isn’t clear exactly where that data comes from, the island will move on to Level 2 on May 29. To do this, the UK has to have a 14 day rate of cases below 30 per 100,000 for 7 consecutive days.
As many MHKs have pointed out in Tynwald, the UKs 7 day rate has been below 30 in 100,000 since April. However, a gov spokesman told Gef that the ECDC figures for the 14 day average had not dropped below 30, with the most recent figures showing a rate of 44 in 100,000.
When the island does move to Level 2, it will bring with it the introduction of 1 day iso. In essence you have to isolate for as long as it takes for a negative PCR test to be returned. Then, according to the framework, a second test is taken on day six. Again if you don’t want to take the tests then it’s a 14 day isolation period. However the gov website says that Level 2 could ‘potentially [see the] requirement for self-isolation removed’.
Unfortunately that is about all we know, the framework doesn’t make it clear if day 1 and 6 testing means it’s a free-for-all in between tests, or if you can’t go to the pub for a week – it just says ‘Pathways and Isolation to be reviewed and confirmed’.
While many people want to know as soon as possible, the lack of covid briefing this week suggests that those decisions either haven’t yet been made or the gov just doesn’t want to tell us yet, either is equally plausible and equally annoying for people who just want to see their friends and family.
When Will We Know More?
Gef has reached out to gov for an update, with a spokesman indicating that more info will be released early next week.