New lockdown on the Isle of Man due to rise in Covid-19 cases

3 March 2021, 10:45

The Isle Of Man has had to impose a new lockdown
The Isle Of Man has had to impose a new lockdown. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

A new 'circuit-breaker' lockdown has come into force on the Isle of Man due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

The island had come out of lockdown on February 1, with schools and businesses reopening after no reports of unexplained community cases of coronavirus for 17 consecutive days.

But, on Tuesday, Chief Minister Howard Quayle announced a new lockdown of 21 days as a result of "transmission in our community that we cannot see and that we do not understand".

The lockdown came into effect after a ferry crew member tested positive.

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Howard Quayle said: "After lengthy discussions that weighed heavily on our minds, we have decided that we cannot allow anything to put this longer term exit at risk.

"We need to intervene now. If we do so now, and if everyone does their bit, we will again stamp out the current outbreak that seems to be moving under the surface of our community."

The island currently has 58 cases of coronavirus, three of which have no immediate link to identified clusters of the virus.

On February 18, Mr Quayle announced there were cases of Covid-19 on the Isle of Man which were not among people who had travelled there and entered self isolation.

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They were linked back to a member of staff working for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, which runs ferries to and from Liverpool, Belfast, Dublin and Heysham, in Lancashire.

At the time, the company said the crew member, who was not in a passenger-facing role, had a test while off-duty and was placed in immediate isolation, with contact tracing underway.

Under the new measures, which came into force just after midnight on Wednesday, schools and businesses will close and residents are urged to stay at home.

Mr Quayle said the island's vaccination programme was on track to deliver first doses to all over 50s and clinically vulnerable adults during April.