IoM Gov Briefing 17th May

Howard, David, Dr Henny

Well good afternoon everyone

Thanks for tuning in

Two and a half weeks since our last show. A few cases are popping up but it’s manageable and explainable

The virus is here to stay, we need to learn to live with it 

Change in approach means that you will decide how to live in a world with the virus 

Steps are a matter of personal choice

We’ve launched a new campaign which will include more info on what you can do to stay safe 

Two weeks ago we started implementing the exit framework 

Family members could apply to come. Numbers have been modest, probs because of the isolation rules 

Hope to see unrestricted travel to the UK by end of June

The outlook here and in the UK is positive, but the Indian variant is beginning to take hold in some parts of the UK

Dr Henny

India variant emerged in India 

One of a large number of variants in India. They have a high infection rate and the variant keeps mutating as people pass it on

We have seen it causing clusters and outbreaks, largely in Bolton 

Deffo community transmission 

The doubling time is around a week. Which is quite rapid, if it went wider in the population we would see exponential growth

We don’t know if it’s because vaccine uptake rates are low in areas

But no vaccine is 100% effective, eventually, it will infect people who have been vaccinated

We want to be careful about keeping it out of the Island, so we’ll need to watch what happens over the next few weeks 

Howard

COMEN will be closely monitoring developments 

With the scale of our Vax programme, there is no immediate need to alter our plans 

ECDC infection rate figure – helps us evaluate when to move to the next step

Target was 30 cases per 100,000 – today’s update is 44 per 100,000 (a little higher than we would like)

So the next steps… 

We’re not ready to change who can come to the Island 

But we are ready to change Isolation rules for those who can already come

From next Monday, 24th May, anyone travelling to the island who has not been outside of the UK or the Channel Islands in the 10 days prior to arriving here will no longer have to isolate for seven days. 

But they still need to isolate on arrival and have a test within 48 hours. If it is negative, they are free to go about their business but need to avoid health and social care settings (for 10 days)

Second covid test required 6 days after arriving on island, this one will be free 

Anyone who has been outside of the UK will have to Isolate for 7 days (atm includes Ireland). If both results are negative, the traveller can leave Isolation on day 7 but they cannot go into a health or care setting for 10 days after arrival.

If a traveller chooses not to be tested they will need to isolate for 21 days on their own or with those they have travelled with

Changes will be retrospective for those already in isolation 

COMEN agreed that this was a sensible and reasonable compromise 

For the moment, we will keep the category restricted to keep travel numbers down and keep an eye on the Indian variant

We’re gonna follow Gef’s lead and we won’t be focusing on daily case rates anymore 

The focus will be more on our vaccination levels, hospital capacity and deaths from the virus 

We might see an uptick in cases in the coming weeks. Threat to our community has changed so we will respond differently

There are still questions about the variant and new data every day, a final decision on changes set out will be taken on Thursday

David 

Focus going forward will be on delivering second doses 

Started today, 700 had their second shot 

The UK has announced shortening time between doses 

It wouldn’t get us there much quicker so we’re sticking to our plan 

2nd doses delivered to all vulnerable by the end of June 

We should overtake the UK in terms of % of population

Howard

SPC review – had hoped it would have been published by now 

Taking some time to compile, wanted the team to do a thorough job

I want to read it first before I comment 

*AKA – don’t ask me any questions about it please guys 

Questions 

Tim: Data not dates – but want to chat dates, what’s happened to the 29th May for Level 2? 

HQ: Monday 24th is ahead of schedule. Not moving to level 2 by 29th (yet) because of India variant concerns.

David: Need to protect our community. Not long until the end of June. 

Tim: Schemes for hospitality and other areas run out at the end of June. Will they be extended if the India variant is a concern?

HQ: We’ll revisit if we need to. Online and on time to deliver changes to 28th June. 

Tim: Cautious, no?

HQ: Pragmatic way forward.

Al Bell: Businesses are complaining about the mitigation strategy and it’s stifling their demand. Will you be reviewing this?

HQ: If they are down a significant amount they can claim up to and including the end of June.

Al Bell: Concern increasing in the UK about India variant and how vaccines respond. Why now the dramatic changes in the rules?

HQ: No drama Al. If we need to update again on Thursday, we will. The main defence is our population being vaccinated 

David: Vaccinations – in terms of serious illness and death, they think vaccines work ok to protect people.

Dr H: Two elements to effectiveness 

  1. Reduce Transmission 
  2. Protecting people against hospitalisation 

Evidence is that it is stopping people from getting seriously ill. The only caveat is if it kicks off and there is a mass infection, it becomes a numbers game.

Sam: Clarification please – As we haven’t moved levels. Will we miss the target for the end of the month on moving to the next level?

HQ: All down to risk. Due to UK figures, we can’t move to level 2. If there is an improvement, COMEN will review.

Sam: Testing and the price of testing. PAC said COMEN was looking at 300% markup? Are you making a profit from the great Manx public?

HQ: We’re probably losing money… I had a colleague whose son got a test in the UK and got charged £120 for one test. Our £30 quid fee is subsidising the taxpayer.

David: The testing is subsidised 

Helen: How will border changes be clearly communicated?

HQ: Press release, this conference and our social media accounts.

Helen: What evidence is there that current vaccinations can reduce the risk of Indian variant?

Dr H: Real-world evidence very little as it’s too new. But Lab evidence indicates it’s a bit reduced. But the current view is that it reduces hospitalisations. We will know over the next couple of weeks.

Helen: How seriously is public health taking the Indian variant?

Dr H: Well, very seriously. 

HQ: We’ll be living with the virus and variants for a long time. 

Rob: Are we still on course to have everyone under 50 jabbed by September?

David: Yep 

Rob: Starting to welcome more travellers, how will the airport adapt?

David: We’ll work with DOI on longer-term planning

HQ: All senior citizens will have been vaccinated by then. 

Closing 

Have a good week 

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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