This is a very rough and unverified transcript of the Isle of Man Government Press Conference conducted on 22 May 2020. You should not rely upon it — it is transcribed by an automated speech recognition service, and I cannot guarantee its accuracy.

Before relying or quoting anything contained here, you should verify it against the underlying audio recorded here. Time Stamps and automatically-generated speaker names should help in the verification.

David Ashford 0:00
Good afternoon, everyone. We’ve updated you for many weeks at these briefings on the latest developments in our response to COVID-19. Today marks a minor milestone, as we start to talk about starting the journey towards normality for our health and care services. teams in the department have been working hard on plans to reintroduce those services, which were suspended or reduced as part of our immediate response to the crisis. We are keen to share these plans with the public and I will shortly be launching a new roadmap document setting out the journey ahead. Also today, we welcome back from the COVID 111 call centre. Dr. Gregor Paden for an update on his teams were, first of all today’s Coronavirus statistics. The total number of tests undertaken stands at 4000 to 393. The total number of tests returned stands at four Thousand 381. That leaves the number of test results outstanding at 12. The total number of cases testing positive remains a 336. That means there have been no new cases identified since yesterday’s update. And I would now like to hand over to Dr. Greg appeared in for an update on the COVID 111. operation. Over to you, Gregor.

Unknown Speaker 1:30
Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. I’m pleased to be able to give you a brief update on the covert on more than one service plan carefully scoring for those that respond to nine weeks ncf with a team of 100 individuals we’ve now handled or 11 and a half thousand calls, or call

Unknown Speaker 1:55
630 well does that

Unknown Speaker 1:59
make sense?

Unknown Speaker 2:03
With the line numbers of tests and results, but as expected, as hoped, and as a result of everyone playing their part, the number of calls has gradually reduced. And we no process around 200 calls per day. We’ve tested over 3600 individuals. The absolute test count is higher than this due to some of our retesting protocols, particularly around essential workers. We’ve sent over two and a half thousand text message results and made about 1500 callbacks from the service either again to advise of results or to provide clarity around some of the advice. The service has had to constantly adapt to changes and both clinical guidance and local legislation. And we’re currently operating from version 28 of our internal process flows. notes here is the recent change and testing criteria in line with the UK and as already announced this week, we know test cases of loss of taste or smell, or as before cases of new cough or high temperature. If you do develop any of these symptoms, please call 111. Also a reminder that all of our current advice is available online at COVID-19 dot gov. Im where you will also find the online assessment tool that will direct you to call 111 if required. This assessment tool has been used by over 20,000 individuals as of next week, and in order to further improve the service we are merging the 111 team, the community testing team and our contact tracing team into a single structure to improve the speed and efficiency with which we share information and strategies. This will allow us to strengthen our test and tracer So it’s robust enough to give us the confidence we need for when the time is right to open our borders, that we will be able to track trace and isolate any potential outbreaks before they become an issue. We as a team are confident that this refreshed service will allow us to keep the public as safe as we can, for as long as as necessary, while supporting the economy to continue to open as the island moves forward together. Thank you.

David Ashford 4:29
And thank you, Greg. Apologies. We had a few technical difficulties just there at the start of your talk. But thank you very much for sharing that. And thanks to your team for all of the hard work you and they have put in to make the service such a success. The COVID 111 service was set up within a week as part of our immediate response to the pandemic. It now seems a long time ago. The project brought together clinicians, project managers web designers, IT experts, data analysts, team managers are many more. By pulling together under pressure, we set up an entirely new service, which from day one, adapted to suit needs. I very much hope we can retain the service in the future so that when the pandemic is behind us, we gain an effective, professionally designed new resource of real value to the people of this island. That is currently being looked at as a possibility. The service has certainly undergone some serious road testing in the most demanding of circumstances. having achieved a significant reduction in the spread of COVID-19. We are keen to see health and care services that have had to be suspended resume in the near future. We are aware of the potentially negative impact of further delay in many usual health care services. It is a balancing act. On the one hand, we want to offer a comprehensive health and care system to the public. But on the other, we must consider the threat of the virus that is still circulating in the community. So it is important we plan the process of restoring services carefully. We need to keep resources available for dealing with COVID-19. And to be able to increase or decrease the number of beds available as required. It’s a hard truth, but the potential to have large numbers of acutely unwell COVID-19 patients remains and is not behind us. So we need to ensure our staff and patients are safe. And we do not contribute to a rise in cases. It’s a simple equation. The lower the number of beds needed for COVID-19. The greater is our ability to deliver services for all the conditions and to Meet over wider social care needs. Tomorrow we are publishing return to health, the department’s broad approach to restoring services. It shows how we will do this in three stages, which are closely aligned to the three levels in our island wide response to the pandemic set out by the government in stay safe almost a month ago. So it is a health and social care companion to the stay safe document.

It is important to stress that this document does not cover every service area operated by the department of health and social care. Plans to resume our Adult Social Care and learning disability services for instance, are still being finalised. These will be the focus of a further companion document entitled back to care, which will be published shortly back to health will be published online. And we hope that you find it informative just As all policies and regulations around the current situation reviewed on a to weekly cycle in health and social care, we will be reviewing services in two weekly blocks, seeing what else we can bring back online. So the restoration of services will be done in a carefully managed way. And we will be communicating a fortnightly programme of changes turning to the first block over the next two weeks in terms of hospital services. The next stage is to issue some time sensitive, urgent and elective procedures and activity. We will also look at restoring screening programmes. Although this can only happen when the services we rely on in the UK are also up and running. Among the services we will be looking to bring back on stream in this first phase of endoscopy, general surgery, urology and certain cancer care and delivery services. in mental health, we will increase the number of impersonal appointments and therapies for those who will benefit most from face to face contact. While Sunday services have had to close, our mental health teams have discovered new ways of connecting with service users, which have worked really well, which we hope to continue. The service has been aware throughout the crisis, the demand is likely to increase during the changing social circumstances that we have all been experiencing. It has not been easy for many people to nurture their own well being in challenging circumstances and times. And this is being taken into account as we plan the future. It means making the best use of resources will be paramount. And we will continue to innovate as we have been doing where we can as well as work with third sector partners. The document also covers primary care in primary care, we will consider For the time being, with the use of telephone triage for GP services and be maintaining non face to face services where this is appropriate. We will be looking to work towards the reintroduction of cervical screening and diabetic foot checks. The rest of the document also includes other services around GPS adaptations. Turning to dentistry. In terms of dentistry, we are not yet ready to allow dentistry services to resume as normal. aerosol generating procedures, which form a large part of dentistry are still a major risk. We will however in this first block of changes be building on the emergency care available by our NHS dentists partnering with the community dental service, we will be working to provide an expansion of services including placing of temporary fillings and re cementing of crowns. Within women and children’s services, we will be looking to reintroduce admissions for specific groups to the children’s ward, reintroduction of paediatric outpatient clinics and expand on the community paediatric offering. Behind the Headlines is a vast amount of detailed analysis, risk assessment and planning, all of which has to be considered by our leadership and clinical teams before it can be agreed as our firm plan. I would like to thank colleagues across the departments who have worked so hard on these plans, as they are truly in the vanguard of shaping our health and social care services for the future. It is pleasing to see that some services are being transformed as they have been turned back on. So the service which comes back on stream is not exactly like the previous one. The difference is, it will be better as well as being more efficient and ultimately sustainable. I should also mention several areas which are crucial for any of the above to take place. These are areas we sometimes take for granted the cleaning, housekeeping, catering and portering teams at the hospital and elsewhere. They have worked extremely hard, showed huge commitment and flexibility as they adapted and extended their operations during the emergency.

These will change again as we return to normal as social distancing infection prevention practices and the use of PPA add a new dimension to previous routines. I hope this has given a flavour of the journey ahead. It is a challenging one, no doubt about that. we embark on it with some anticipation. As we understand people are anxious to have their appointments, therapies visits treatments and facilities back as they were. The road ahead offers many opportunities to rethink how we do what we do. It is an unfolding story, which I provide updates on in the days and weeks to come. But the document will be published tomorrow. And I hope that people will take a look and engage with what services we are able to interview. I will now turn to questions from the media. And first off, I’ve got Leon from three FM. Good afternoon, Leah.

Unknown Speaker 13:33
Good afternoon, Minister. I hope you I hope my internet connection holds up this time. And so my first question I know you’ve just touched upon dentistry. And but just looking for a little more clarification, because this morning we received a press release from the government to say the service has been expanded to offer emergency dental treatments including fillings with the department’s dental service, but we’ve had reports that when members of the public have tried to call the number of providers. They’ve been told this as a possible. So just looking for a bit of clarification on that, please.

David Ashford 14:07
So my understanding is the services are coming online, I think on Monday. So today is the announcement for the services and I believe the services will be available from Monday as my understanding in relation to that. dentistry is one of those where we can’t just do a big bang and back to normal. as I’ve stated before, the aerosol generating procedures is a great risk within the dentistry setting. So it needs to be done in a very carefully managed way. So I would like to thank all the dentists that have engaged exceptionally well with the departments in helping to try and move the service forward. And that we are now able to expand using emergency service with that HS dental supporting that to be able to deliver this wider treatments such as fillings, crowns, because we do appreciate there’s been people left in a situation that we wouldn’t want them left in for a period of time now.

Unknown Speaker 14:59
And so, just a clarify if people can phone up from Monday for that number, they should be able to talk to someone in regards to the likes of fillings.

David Ashford 15:06
Yeah, that’s my understanding, Leah.

Unknown Speaker 15:08
Okay, perfect. And my second question, and police have reported instances of social distancing being ignored, but in particular with young people they’ve described their behaviour is unacceptable, but their state is they always have that it’s their parent’s responsibility to know where their children are. I’m just wondering, could a direct punishment be introduced to discourage other young people from doing the same?

David Ashford 15:32
Well, when you’re dealing with minors, it is generally the obviously you’ve got the age of legal responsibility that feeds into law as well. So it is the parents that do need to take responsibility there. I was very disappointed to read about the reports from the police. As we move out of out of the situation we’re in now, more and more we are going to be relying on people doing the right thing. And I think the one message I’ve got to re emphasise sighs again, is that this virus, it doesn’t care about people’s ages. It doesn’t care who you are what you are, you know, it strikes people in exactly the same way. And young people are not invincible, no matter how much they may think they are, they are not. They have been horrendous cases around the world, even in the UK, of where young people have tragically died from this virus at a very, very, very young age. And, you know, I really would urge young people to consider that. I know it’s frustrating and it’s hard when you’re young, you want to be around your friends, you want to be out you want to be enjoying life, but for a short period of time, and it is only a short period of time in their in their lifespan. We are asking them to do the right thing for themselves, their friends, their families, because if they catch it as well, let’s not forget after that they’re going home and they may well pass it on to a loved one and in fact their family as well. So I really would urge them to think before they act. And like I say, as we start unwinding things, we are more and more going to have to rely on people doing the right thing. We can’t police every single action that people take. So I really would urge people to think before they act.

Unknown Speaker 17:18
Thank you.

David Ashford 17:20
Next up, I’ve got Amanda from Jeff mongoose.

Unknown Speaker 17:24
Afternoon minister, they will presumably be a large patient backlog on the island due to the halting a lot of the healthcare sector. Do you anticipate very long waiting lists for those services you discussed today? And how do you plan to reduce that?

David Ashford 17:37
The simple answer and the honest answer is yes. waiting lists will have expanded while this has been going on. Because of the people who were on the list, they’re not magically going to get better. They’re still going to have been, they’re still going to be ill and still waiting for their treatments. In the short term be in the waiting lists will be longer than normal, because we have still got to keep that capacity for COVID-19. And then what we will have to do is then look to see what we can do once we come out the other end of this, and to try and manage waiting lists with various waiting lists initiatives. But I’ve got to be honest with the general public, that in the short term while we deal with this, most definitely waiting lists are going to be longer. Thank you. And secondly, the UK Government has now ordered 10 million antibody tests and they’re plans to begin rollout next week. What is your current stance on immunity to the virus? Will those who have the antibody be free to stop sexual distancing? And how will this be monitored? No, there are no plans for us to go down the route of saying you’ve got the antibodies, so you don’t need to social distance or the thing that has also been in the media recently about immunity certificates. We have no intentions around that. The reason being we still do not know and I’m sorry to lay with the points because I’ve done it several times now. But we still do not know that adding antibodies in first immunity. That just isn’t the level of science. detail at the moment because this is a new virus to say how long those antibodies stay around. And if indeed, they do actually confer immunity to stop someone from getting it again. So we are going to be taking a very sensible approach, although people will be able to see where we roll out our antibody testing, whether they’ve had the virus or not. That will not mean they have a licence to go back to normal. Can I just ask them what the what the specific point of the antibody test is then if we don’t know if it immunity is necessarily coming from the virus, so the purpose is to see just how widespread the virus has been? We know that a lot of people, for instance, don’t show any symptoms whatsoever with COVID-19. We know particularly the symptoms are mild in children. So children may just feel like they’ve got a cold or something like that, but it’s same cases with adults as well. So what antibody testing doors as a test is it allows you to see how widespread the virus has been around the community. It most certainly after sizes again, are certainly should not be used at this common time for someone to say I’ve had it. I’m absolutely fine. You know, I’m not going to get it again, the scientific evidence just is not there for that. Thank you very much. Next up, I’ve got Paul at MTV, MTV, I nearly moved on to a music channel that Oh,

Paul Moulton 20:22
before I start, I need more information or if you can clarify this new case your day, I mean, the Chief Minister gave out all sorts of things which was setting bells in my head ringing, it was a teenager, not in health care, not in a foster care home, had been travelling. I mean, all these things, we’re now getting a glimpse of something quite different there. Are we are you worried? I mean, this is I mean, you’re trying to find that personal doubt that connects dots now.

David Ashford 20:45
Yeah, I mean, obviously, contact tracing takes place. Again, I’m sorry to labour the point again, Paul, because I’ve we are limited in individual cases about what we can share. All I can confirm is to emphasise what the chief minister said that it was what I would term a young adult. And so so as a young adult, who basically, basically, it hasn’t been in any sort of other setting. It is a pure community case amongst a young adult.

Paul Moulton 21:14
I think he’s a teenager. So in that case, that’s that as much data is out how many other teenagers have you got?

David Ashford 21:21
So, right, well, in terms of the way we record a wrong stage ranges, Paul, we record age ranges by zero to 19. So we separate out and it actually, I can actually give you that if you bear with me one moment. My age range out of the 336 confirmed cases so far, the zero to 19 bracket is 18.

Paul Moulton 21:45
Do you want to go through the rest well,

David Ashford 21:46
if you if you want, yeah, I’ll have to go through it. So zero to zero to 19 currently makes up 18 cases 20 to 34 was 67 cases. 35 to 49 is 83 cases. 50 to 64 is 87 cases 65 to 79 is 37 cases. And 80 Plus is 44. cases, which is where you’d expect it to be. m it is. Obviously it affects the older age groups more. But again, I need to emphasise that doesn’t necessarily mean there hasn’t been cases in the younger age groups, because a lot of young people don’t show symptoms or show low level symptoms. So that is, again, tying in with Amanda’s question. That’s where antibody testing will actually be quite okay to sell my side now.

Paul Moulton 22:34
dentistry, we have these two two separate sets of dentistry are set up already I believe one will be doing the fillings you mentioned that back on but we’ve talked about in the past that the the amount of deep cleaning the mountain precautions in there, you’ll never catch up on that if there’s any Well, I think you said less than maybe four cases a day potentially it could be having having a filling it and that’s before any other dentists obviously come back online. That’s not gonna help is it really I mean, obviously, it helps for people But David, it’s a massive backlog. Well, first

David Ashford 23:01
I need to say is we’re operating out of two premises in order to deliver this service. But the way we give up the premises and the way you divide off, because bear in mind, you’re talking clinical rooms. So if you’ve got more than one clinical room, you can use more than one clinical room at the same time. But it’s about ensuring that the patient is safe, and the dentist and their staff are safe. So it is still limited treatments. I’m not trying to say everything’s going to return back to normal instantly. And we are now able to expand that treatment base. And obviously the priority will go to those that are in greater need in relation to access to those services. But it has to be done in a clinically safe way. an aerosol generation with COVID-19 is one of the most dangerous the certain scientific studies out there that show when it’s aerosol generated, it can actually even survive an air particles for a period of time let alone on surfaces. So there has to be that rigidity around cleaning before all the Patients come back,

Paul Moulton 24:00
I’d say that you accept that there’s been HIV, there’s been all sorts of the flu, whatever I mean, with all the numbers, so you might be more chance to win the lottery than actually catching anything by the sheer, small percentages we’re dealing with now.

David Ashford 24:13
Well, firstly, let’s remember, HIV is transmitted in a different way to COVID-19. And let’s also remember when you mentioned flu COVID-19, in terms of its contagion, is actually higher in terms of your being able to pass it on. And so although worldwide, you haven’t seen as many cases, as you would see, in a general flu, it is actually more contagious, and also the impact that it has potentially on vulnerable people in society is actually higher. So you know, that’s not a reason to mitigate risk.

Paul Moulton 24:44
No, I’m saying there’s a risk in everything just walking down the street that we all take Gamble’s in everyday life anyway. Yeah,

David Ashford 24:50
I mean, I could walk out the door and get hit by a bus. But what we have to do is we have to, we have to spread that risk. We have to do what is appropriate. And let’s not just Lesson learned. Just remember, it’s not just patients making decisions about themselves. There’s dentists as the other people involved in any processes as well. And it’s about protecting people. We do take precautions for other things. Dentists when you walk in, for instance, to dental surgery, normally, they’re not without the gloves without visors. Anything else. They do use different levels of PPA, but it’s with COVID-19 and the way that people contract it, we’ve got to ensure that things are as clean and as safe as possible.

Paul Moulton 25:29
Okay, another question is about keywords. And so what exactly now that this may have changed when when the keyword arrives now, man, do they really not get tested in any shape, form or fashion before they leave the airport seaport?

David Ashford 25:42
Right. So in relation to the key workers No, because there’s very strict protocols around them. So key workers still have to self isolate. And there is certain industries where we allow the doubles in key worker cases where we allow the double swab test where they have one swab test at the start, and then say days later, they’ll have another one, which then allows them to go back about their duties. But it is very clear with key workers that they must still self isolate for the 14 days. But what they have to do is they go, they go from their home to work, perform whatever limited duties they’re allowed to do, and a certified to do, and then travel straight from that place of work back to their home. They are not circulating, but also that one of the things I need to emphasise with key workers is what we term key workers is changed now, because that was early days when you had key workers who were coming into the island who might reside here. Most of those key workers now are back on Island. The majority of key workers now are people who never actually formally set foot in the island. So you’ve got the boat crews, you’ve got aircraft crews who are coming in and then going straight back out. So there’s very, very different setup in terms of key workers and the majority of those key workers than it was at the start of this.

Paul Moulton 26:58
But you have got reverse key workers. ones that work in the UK come back here to be home and they can be here for any time. Maybe it’s time they have to self isolate. Yeah, yeah. But it’s no testing. I mean, maybe those people who have to wait for the once a week bought a boat, you know, who do get all the full testing across, it seems like it’s working to them platform.

David Ashford 27:18
All the testing that’s done for those that wait for the boat is temperature checking. Now, we had a very long debate at the start of all this, I seem to remember, before we even did these forms of press conferences about temperature checking, all the temperature checking will identify is if someone has a fever. So the people returning are being swab tested, getting negative results or positive results back it is purely a temperature check that is done at the port

Paul Moulton 27:43
he throws bringing us in our way that think about putting in temperature check check. So it must be some medicines at least it picks up some cases

David Ashford 27:50
well being to be well it will pick up anyone with a fever. And that wouldn’t necessarily mean they’ve got COVID-19 they may have a fever for a different reason. But since that’s one of the common symptoms, you then will allows someone to travel if they presented with a fever. And that’s what we’ve been operating, but it’s the only form of testing really, that’s practical and instant testing to do a port. Okay, thank you. Okay, then next stop. I next up I’ve got Jess Marla newspapers.

Unknown Speaker 28:19
Lemon stashes Ashford. My first question is about PPA. And can you give us an update on the supply here in the islands? And are you confident that with the increase of off supply due to services opening, that we have got everything in place as demand grows, especially when up against global demand to?

David Ashford 28:37
Very good question just in terms of PPA, we are very resilient. We’ve been building up our supplies, and we haven’t been relying on the NHS supply chain. We’ve been going out and sourcing PP from around the world from as far afield as China and bringing it into the bringing us into the islands. We’ve built up a very good reserve stock for our health services in terms of business Returning now I do need to emphasise, it will be for those private businesses to source their own PPA, and government will not be providing the PPA for them. But our stocks in terms of health are very resilient. And we’re lucky that we are in the place we are and we do not have shortages, a PPA, or some of the countries have seen.

Unknown Speaker 29:20
Okay, thanks. And my next question is in terms of the services that are to open with in terms of health services, that is, what assurances Can you give to those in the at risk categories, who are maybe nervous of going into these places, and what procedures are in place to better protect these people.

David Ashford 29:39
So people will be travelling obviously into a hospital setting for most of those services that have been turned on or certainly a very controlled medical setting. And there is cleaning regimes in place and there is very much protocols behind every service were turning back on. As you would expect within a medical setting. Everything is risk assessed. As to risk that person, if we had someone who is exceptionally vulnerable and we didn’t feel it was right at this time for them to recommence whatever procedure or whatever they need to do, then we wouldn’t make them do so. But, you know, I know it’s going to be very nervous for people. And I know people are going to be exceptionally well read it’s a nervous time for a lot of people as people slowly see the changes coming through. But the one thing I would say we take all precautions and a health setting to ensure that it is safe for people and the risk of them contracting COVID-19. Within that health setting is minimised as much as it can be. But we do recognise there is concerns and if anyone is invited to attend for any procedure and they have any concerns, I would I would urge them to get in touch with the clinic or with the consultant concerned console consultants office and to discuss it through and actually talk about those concerns to get some reassurance.

Unknown Speaker 30:55
Would you recommend these people to maybe bring their own masks or gloves Do you think that would help in any way? I mean, I’ve proposed about a business supplying respirator face mask for kin therapy patients does that.

David Ashford 31:10
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it as such. Because let’s not forget with masks and gloves unless you apply them properly, and you know how to dispose them properly. It’s actually a way of transmitting the virus, if you’re not doing things correctly, and but what I would actually say is if that if people feel comfortable with that, if that’s their choice, and it makes them feel more comfortable about going into that setting, there’s nothing to stop them doing so. And, you know, you know, it’s about if that gives them comfort, but it’s not going to be a recommendation. Okay, thank you very much. Thank you. I don’t know if we I don’t think we’ve got anyone from the BBC. No, No, we haven’t. So that was the final question then for this afternoon. And it concludes today’s briefing. And can I thank all army Oh, sorry. Probably is waving at me. So

Paul Moulton 32:02
I won’t take up too much time. But I went on the EasyJet site today, and I could book tickets from Liverpool to the Isle of Man. Some days it was saying sold out. Now that may be just a marketing ploy, but it definitely was algorithm activity because some days tickets were 60 pounds. Some days they were 23 pounds, which shows me that people have made bookings. And there’s nothing there to say that you can’t fly. And this is all you telling me? There’s no deal done between you and EasyJet to stop flights because why would they be putting them on sale?

David Ashford 32:33
stands for the day, Paul? Yes, there is no deal. And there has been absolutely no deal done with EasyJet. And what I would say is that people can of course book just as Logan air This is no different to the way Logan has been operating the whole way throughout the pandemic. People can book on Logan air, but if they’re not holding an exemption certificate to come into the island, they will not get through because the borders are short

Paul Moulton 32:55
and sweet work in the airport is someone looking there’s peace so they have to

David Ashford 32:59
they have to present the exemption certificate before they can board the plane.

Paul Moulton 33:03
But people fail and still could fly out on these jet. There’s no problem going to people can

David Ashford 33:06
leave the island. That has been the case since the moment the board is short, we’ve had never had restrictions around people leaving the island. It’s people returning to the island that needs to go through the appropriate process.

Unknown Speaker 33:19
Jesse?

Unknown Speaker 33:21
Hi. Um, yes, I just thought I’d ask another question in relation to those working on the COVID ward. I mean, I believe that it’s, it’s gonna be a very, extremely stressful and tiring. environments work in and I’m just wondering if there are any procedures in place so that staff who have been working relentlessly are able to take any time off because I mean, it would be quite emotionally draining situation sometimes.

David Ashford 33:47
It most certainly is. I mean, they they really are when I talk about the front line, we literally mean they are literally on the front line. I’d like to again, express my thanks to all of those that are working in those circumstances. So I work. So what I would say is we try to rotate stuff as much as possible. And but also one of the things that’s just gone out to staff through the department is because of the low level of cases where ease in the restriction about people taking annual leave. So if people need to take annual leave, or they feel exhausted, were urging them to speak to their managers about doing so. Because there has been restrictions on annual leave prior to now. But we are relaxing, relaxing those and people do need to take a break. I think the thing we’re more at danger with is we actually have a huge amount of absolutely dedicated staff who just want to keep working and keep helping and supporting the islands day in day out, and they don’t want to take that break. I think that’s more of a more of a risk for us and trying to convince people that they do need time to recharge their batteries, and actually think about themselves. Because we have so many staff that put everyone else First they sometimes forget about themselves.

Unknown Speaker 35:00
Is there any training going on at the moment to kind of pick up? When when people do want to have a bit of a break, they’ll be able to have people step in what’s happening there. Exactly. So, I mean, they’d have to probably train it. But then that’s probably taken away time from the patients. What happened?

David Ashford 35:18
well know what what we do is we obviously operate wards on a relative basis. So there are people who are already trained up in PPA. That’s one of the reasons at the start of all this, we have to shut off certain health services, because we will move people around and relocating them. And demand isn’t as high as it could have been. So we haven’t got absolutely full, brimming Ward simulation to COVID. So that’s allowed us more flexibility as to how we work with the staff. So there’d be certainly no need from what I’ve seen in terms of staffing capacity to have to train or anyone further than what we’ve already got trained or enable to be able to try and relieve some of that pressure.

Unknown Speaker 35:53
Okay, thank you very much,

David Ashford 35:54
Amanda. I believe you’ve got another question.

Unknown Speaker 35:57
Yes, thank you, Minister. Is it possible there could be a change On the two metre rule as reopening, businesses could struggle to break even with significantly reduced clientele due to social distancing. And will the island follow the World Health Organization’s guidance to reduce the distancing to one metre

David Ashford 36:11
vote I need to follow up on the World Health Organization’s guidance. The word for clarity The World Health Organization’s guidance isn’t one metre. It is a minimum of one metre is the word is the words that the at least is the words at least one metre is the words The World Health Organisation uses. We know from the scientific reports and in fact many of them Our World Health Organisation reports about the aerosol generation when someone sneezes or coughs and travels, the two metre restriction. We are not planning to change and certainly aren’t considering that at this time. That’s far too early in the day for us to be doing that. Different countries have taken different approaches. So much alike, like us have gone for the two metre I think New Zealand has the two metre. Lots of other countries across Europe use the two metre across trees have gone for one metre, some for one and a half. And I think it’s sensible to stay with the two metre. To be honest, most people underestimate how far two metres is anyway, or overestimated in other cases. And so I think it’s important we have that measure in place, and certainly, I don’t think there would be any benefit from going from the two metres to one metre.

Unknown Speaker 37:24
Okay, thank you very much.

David Ashford 37:26
Okay. Well, thank you very much, again, to our to our media partners. For the questions today. Dr. Allinson, will be here on Monday to expand on the issues around education. And I hope you all have a very pleasant weekend. Many thanks to all of you who are working in our health and care services. And for those who aren’t working over the long weekend. I hope you enjoy the bank holiday on Monday. Thank you

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