Precautionary actions are underway to reduce the risk of a new COVID-19 variant being transmitted in the Isle of Man.
The designation of a new Variant under Investigation by the UK Health Security Agency has led to six African countries being added to the UK’s travel red list from midday today, with direct flights from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia banned until 4am on Sunday 28 November.
British nationals who have been in those countries within the last 10 days are required to quarantine at home for 10 days and take two PCR tests from noon today until 4am on Sunday, following which all arrivals in the UK will have to undertake mandatory hotel quarantine.
The adding of countries to the UK red list means that anyone who has been in a red list country in the past 10 days is prohibited from travel to the Isle of Man until they have completed their quarantine.
Borders’ officers have identified 21 people who have arrived in the Isle of Man from South Africa in the past 10 days, and are in the process of contacting them. All the individuals are being offered advice by Public Health, and are being asked to make arrangements with COVID 111 for voluntary PCR tests. They are not required to self-isolate while waiting for their results unless they have symptoms, as they travelled before the measures were introduced.
It is important that anyone else who visited any of the six countries before traveling to the UK from a third country and onward to the island within the past 10 days, comes forward. They are asked to contact COVID 111 to arrange a PCR test.
Minister for Health and Social Care Lawrie Hooper said: ‘These are precautionary measures in response to concerns about this new variant, to ensure we keep people safe. We need to act while further information is gathered and more becomes known about the variant. That said, it is a reminder to us all that COVID-19 continues to circulate in our community, and while it does we should continue to take precautions, follow public health advice and guidance, and take up the offer of a vaccination or a booster when offered.’
The Isle of Man Government is closely monitoring the steps being taken by the UK Government and the situation will be kept under review. People planning overseas travel should check the latest advice from the UK Government Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.