Chief Minister Alf Cannan has said his government hopes to soon be able to update Tynwald and the island as to how we move forward in our response to Covid.
We spoke to the Chief Minister this week after a Chamber of Commerce survey said 67% of businesses want to see an end to testing and isolating.
While the island has recently seen a high number of Covid cases, these seem to have peaked and there has been fewer hospitalisations than we have seen with other surges of Covid. Something which is being down to the rise in the Omicron variant, as well as the vaccine and booster programme.
Mr Cannan said: ‘I think we are in a reasonably positive situation in terms of how we are managing the overall Omicron variant. We expected cases to be high and we’ve gone from a peak of 2,800 to, I think today approximately 1,850 in isolation, which I think is good news, the indicators are moving in the right direction and I think we need to see that continuing for the next couple of weeks or so throughout January.’
Given what we now know about Covid, the Chief said it is time to start planning for the future. ‘We need to consider how we push forward into the future given that Omicron appear to be less impactful than the Delta variant,’ he said.
‘We need to consider and we are considering, we’re actively now thinking about what our strategy looks like over the next few months and how we move the island forward to a much closer position to what might be regarded as normality.
‘We will be considering that and I think it is important that we continue to see a decline in a number of isolations and that we don’t get complacent about Covid, this story has seen a number of twists in the tale over the last couple of years. One hopes that indeed this is the beginning of the end in terms of the virus, if it continues to mutate, carries on mutating into much weaker forms and we need to plan accordingly. We will do that now in the next 10 days, two weeks and I expect that by the end of January, we will be updating Tynwald and the island as to what our plans are as we move forward again, to take the next steps forward.’
Not a Race
While the island has recently made some moves ahead of the UK, such as the use of LFTs for entering and exiting isolation, the Chief said his gov is not in a race to remove restrictions, saying ‘it is important that we exit in a controlled manner’ and consider many different facets before making decisions.