Schools and businesses in the Isle of Man can reopen and people will be able to leave their homes, but borders will remain closed to outsiders
Lockdown restrictions in the Isle of Man have been entirely lifted thanks to the “supportive, patriotic” public who are being praised for the way that they have followed the lockdown measures to tackle COVID-19.
The island has not had any “unexplained” cases within the community of the coronavirus for 20 days, which means that the wearing of masks and social distancing is no longer needed on the island.
Schools and businesses in the Isle 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.
Chief Minister Howard Quayle has said to Sky News that the success of dealing with COVID-19 was also due to a “policy of eradication” by the government.
This comes after well-wishes have flooded in from across the nation for Captain Sir Tom Moore, the veteran of the Second World War who had raised millions for the NHS during the nation-wide lockdown, after he was admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
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.
“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.
This comes after a Tory MP who has urged anti-vaccination campaigners to keep going with their fight against COVID-19 restrictions, telling them that NHS capacity figures are being “manipulated” is “wrong” and “completely out of order”, senior minister Michael Gove has said.
Mr Quayle, on the Isle of Man’s vaccination programme, said that the authorities were giving a second dose of the vaccines to some of the over-80s on the island and were working through the groups of both key workers and vulnerable people.
In December, a man had been jailed on the Isle of Man for breaching the regions coronavirus regulations after riding a jet ski to the island from Scotland in order to visit his partner.