COVID-19: Social distancing scrapped as Isle of Man lifts restrictions

·2-min read

Watch: Social distancing scrapped as Isle of Man lifts restrictions

Lockdown restrictions have been entirely lifted in the Isle of Man thanks to the "supportive, patriotic" public who have been praised for the way they have followed measures to tackle COVID-19.

The island has not had any "unexplained" community cases of the coronavirus for 20 days and that means the wearing of masks and social distancing is no longer needed.

Schools and businesses can reopen and people will be able to leave their homes and enjoy normal life again - but its borders will continue to be closed to anyone trying to enter.

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Chief Minister Howard Quayle told Sky News the success of dealing with COVID-19 was also due to a government "policy of eradication".

He said: "We have border restrictions. We allow people over for compassionate travel, key workers, and our own local people going away to maybe, sadly, funerals, in the United Kingdom and our patient transfer into the north west, but other than that, we have a closed border policy.

"We had no COVID on the Isle of Man from the 15 June to the 7 January of this year. Sadly, we had some cases on the Isle of Man - we had to go in quick and fast, shut down our island to enable us to eradicate.

"We have a government policy of eradication of COVID, not living with it, and I suppose I put that down, the success, down to the great Manx public.

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"They've followed the rules, they've been very supportive, patriotic, great community spirit, and it's down to the great Manx public that we find ourselves in this fortunate position again.

"We have had 20 days now without any unexplained community cases. The only cases we've had recently have been related to travel.

"We make everyone quarantine, isolate for 14 days before we allow them back in the community having had three tests, so we're pretty confident that when they come out of their quarantine, that they haven't got COVID."

Mr Quayle said he was confident the island would continue to beat the virus.

"You can never say never, but we've waited a while, we've done this before, our circuit-break lockdown has lasted for just over three weeks and it does seem to have worked," he added.

On the Isle of Man's vaccination programme, Mr Quayle said the authorities were giving a second dose to some of the over-80s and were working through the groups of key workers and vulnerable people.

In December, a man was jailed on the Isle of Man for breaching COVID-19 regulations after riding a jet ski to the island from Scotland to visit his partner.