Howard, David & Dr H
Good afternoon everyone, David’s here and so is Dr H
Been a few weeks since we were last here
This is because of the stable situation
Gov has used this time to review our Covid response – particularly the borders
It’s our intention to reintroduce restriction free travel
The time and conditions here and around us (UK) must be right
The lads aka CoMEN met up yesterday to review our border measures
- Lots of people are now vaccinated
- Relatively stable hospital admissions
- Case numbers between Isle of Man, UK & Ireland are balanced
Return of kids to schools and the oncoming winter could impact case numbers
The virus is still a risk
But the time is right to take a step forward
*another baby step*
Currently, people have to apply for vaccination exemptions
This will end for residents if they are double jabbed from the last flight and boat this coming Wednesday
Landing forms will remain though
Those with 2+2 can travel to the island without isolating or a Covid test when they arrive (unless they’ve come from a country on the red travel list)
From Thursday, September 16, we are removing requirements for testing and iso for any unvaccinated resident who has travelled within UK, Ireland and Channel Islands (Common Travel Area) – in the last 10 days before returning to the island
Those arriving from green and amber countries remain the same, red list countries are still prohibited
Regs will only be in place for as long as necessary
These baby steps take us in the right direction
We want this to be a one-way journey but it’s still under constant review
We hope to be able to ease measures for visitors too but for now, we are limiting it to residents
CoMEN feel this is a positive step forward
Testing does remain vital for Covid and I encourage people coming here to take LFTs
You can get them for free from the gov website
Introducing scanners at the borders so people can scan their own QR codes on arrival – but you’ll still have a human to check your ID
We’re partially reopening Peel harbour from September 16, limited docking windows and booking will be required, more deets next week
We are publishing our revised plan, titled: ‘Learning to live in a world with Covid-19’ – *CATCHY*
The vax rollout has helped massively
Update on reporting figures
We have reviewed all death certificates going back to the start of the pandemic and identified 10 which have been classified as Covid related
This brings the figure to 48
PH will continue to review the figures
PH surveillance reports will now be used as the primary method for reporting Covid deaths going forward
Shifting to weekly instead of daily reporting – we want you to have accurate data
Sadly there have been three further deaths this week which we think are Covid related, I send my condolences to their family and friends
Over 1,400 death certificates have been checked
Covid can be established as the cause of death in many ways
Some people may have not known they were positive and it only became apparent during the post mortem
Other people have also recovered from Covid but died as a result of the virus later
Thanks to PH for the work they have done
The UK is doing the same work and will validate their figures soon too
PH report will be the most accurate way going forward
Siobhan F – USA, Canada, France and Netherlands are vaccinating over 12s, JCVI isn’t recommending this yet, but Chris Whitty is examining it, will we follow the UK on this?
HQ: Whatever we do is based on advice from our own experts
DA: JCVI is the professional body that advises on this. Children decision is a balance of risk. It hasn’t yet published a decision. I would find it unusual if the UK would go against their guidance.
Dr H: Little to add… JCVI is a body of experts, we have no experts on the island who could challenge this. They have been very clear about the parameters of their decision which included only health. There can be other issues that are outside of JCVI remit so the Chief Medical Officers are considering that. We will see what comes forward in due course
Siobhan F: In terms of following advice, vaccine passports for events etc are coming out in England and Scotland, Wales is set to follow, what are we doing?
HQ: We’ll be monitoring the situation. If you’re going across to these events, you’ll need this
DA: We’re not planning to do it on the island. But if you’re going away and need it, we’re working with the UK on getting access to the system. I know people can go to Boots etc and get tested in the UK and upload it onto the app and we can do that to access events. No proposals at the moment on the island.
Sam T: Borders, what is EAG saying about all this?
HQ: The information comes to us first.
Sam T: So EAG weren’t consulted?
DA: Medical teams are on board with our decisions.
Sam T: Vax booster problem, when are we expecting them here?
DA: It’s been proposed in the UK for care homes, over 70s etc. But not rolled out yet.
Dr H: Immunosuppressed getting a third dose is to get them to the same level as someone with two doses.
Alex W: What is the timeline for these newly reported deaths?
DA: It is throughout the pandemic period. There is a range of reasons why they may not have been reported at the time. But Public Health has been reviewing all death certificates to correlate with the info we have about what has been out into the registry. It isn’t as simple as saying we missed a death, it is due to the way all deaths are reported.
HQ: For clarification, it’s not unique to us, everyone is going through this process.
Alex W: Within those 10 deaths and the latest three, do we know if they were in hospital or care settings or the community?
DA: We can’t report on individuals or group cases in that way.
Alex W: But you’ve said on the Dashboard that they were hospital or community?
DA: Not in that way
Leanne: Can you clarify where the island and UK need to stand for restriction free travel to return?
HQ: At this time we’ve removed it for Manx residents to the common travel area. The UK gov will look at case numbers and issue lists on what is acceptable and we take account of that. We hope it will be in the near future but for now, it’s a small step for residents.
DA: Sorry back to Alex’s question, we wouldn’t go back to the detail of if people died in a care home or not but we can say hospital or community. Once we get more clarity about the three deaths we’ll be able to clarify that
Returning to Leanne’s question on travel, it is important to do things in stages and this is the next step along the path. Important to relax things first for residents
We make small changes, see what the effect is and then see what we can do next
Dr H: Just to add to that, one of the big issues is that the pandemic isn’t static or travelling in one direction. It can vary wildly and that can affect us and countries that people are travelling to and from. It is something that needs to be handled rationally. Important not to lose control of a situation.
Leanne: In a previous press conference you said about 8,000 hadn’t been jabbed. What is it now?
DA: About 7,500. Over 90% of the adult population have had at least one jab
Rob P: On care homes, you said we can’t go into the smaller details but the Gov announced the Abbotswood deaths, what has changed?
DA: To be frank there were high numbers and there was no personal information, when it is just one death, we can’t issue that.
Rob P: So it has to reach a threshold?
DA: Yes, we can’t do it for every death, we just have to do community death and hospitals.
Rob P: Do you have a number it has to reach?
DA: No, if you look back at Abbotswood, I fronted a lot of those briefings and we only announced more details when the numbers rose.
Rob P: These death certificates go back to January 2020, why has it taken so long to go through this process?
DA: Because it isn’t an automatic process, we have to do it manually. That is a tremendous amount of work. Others are doing it now, the UK for example the Office of National Statistics is doing it.
Dr H: We have an extremely small team on the island. For much of the pandemic, they have been dealing with the operational response to Covid. But now they have the time to do it. We agree with a protocol and made sure it was all consistent
Rob P: More deaths on the surveillance report this week, when we’re talking about transparency around the information, how can people trust the statistics?
DA: Again I’ve explained that discrepancy earlier. People who have had Covid, then be marked as recovered but as a result of Covid an underlying health condition, they have died
They may have well been marked as dying because of Covid but it wouldn’t have appeared on the dashboard. This exercise has been about reconciling that and that is why the public health surveillance report is going to be used to ensure this is an accurate figure
Dr H: Full description there Dave. In respect of the death certificate, all deaths have to have one so it is a clear source of truth. It is the best way of consistently picking up the data. If a doctor has listed Covid as an underlying cause then we are picking this up.
Rob P: Final supplementary, you issued a statement about making things clearer, is this that option?
HQ: All jurisdictions have felt the pressures of work and our officers are now being able to check these figures, we’ve found some anomalies and are sharing this with you
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.