No child under the age of 12 will be tested for Covid when travelling to the island under plans outlined in a Tynwald supplementary order paper.

Members will, this week, be asked to support a range of measures which include the island adopting England’s green and amber travel lists and the removal of day nine testing for positive cases.

Child Travellers

Under the new proposed regs, all children aged under 12 will be exempt from testing, but those aged 12 to 17 will be treated the same as adults. The notes attached to the order paper said: ‘This is in line with the general consensus from the workshop with Tynwald Members. Although there were mixed views on the treatment of those aged 12-17, on balance for now, the Council of Ministers has determined that they should continue to be treated in line with the adult pathways for travel.’

Vaccine Exemptions

Following on from the members’ workshops, CoMin proposes changes to redefine “2+2” into a broader exemption which allows for CoMin, in consultation with the Director of Public Health, to produce a separate direction defining a range of qualifying vaccines and vaccine trials. The number of doses and time intervals can also be varied in line with developments. The notes add: ‘Whilst the Council of Ministers considered whether to introduce additional exemptions for those unable to receive a full course, given the complexity surrounding this, it has been left unchanged for the present.’

International Travel

A big change includes the introduction of the Green and Amber lists. The island will be following England on this, but does reserve the right to make minor changes in relation to people who travel onwards to the island.

For those travelling to English Green List countries, Manx residents will be treated exactly the same as our counterparts in England. If you go to an Amber list country, then you will also be treated the same as English residents, which is dependent on your vaccine status. However, CoMin can make changes to these if they see fit to introduce tighter restrictions than are in place in England.

The notes add: ‘Combined with a general provision under the vaccine exemption to remove countries from the list, this will give sufficient flexibility to the Council of Ministers to react if there is an area of concern. For example, the latest news that fully vaccinated travellers from France into the UK will still be required to isolate (due to the prevalence of the beta variant in France) could be a case to consider removing France from the island’s equivalent vaccine exemption route.’

Contact Tracing, Testing & Isolation for Children

Since a change in policy announced late last Wednesday, close contacts are currently no longer required to isolate To cater for the foreseeable future, the new regs propose amendments to remove children under the age of 12 from isolation and testing when identified as close contacts. 

Positive Case Testing 

As cases have been growing, the burden on the end to end testing system is likely to be such that priority needs to be protected for symptomatic cases at the diagnostic stage. CoMin has decided that the day nine test could be removed providing you are no longer symptomatic.

The notes add: ‘Removal of the day nine doubles the capacity for the testing service to diagnose positive cases and a voluntary programme including lateral flow devices is put in place as a proportionate alternative.

‘All other aspects on borders broadly remain unchanged, such as charges (in line with the consensus from the workshop) and the position on visitors (non-vaccinated remain excluded other than by exception). There is also flexibility built in for CoMin, through Direction, to amend key aspects should the need arise.’

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