This is a very rough and unverified transcript of the Isle of Man Government Press Conference conducted on 25 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.
Alex Allinson 0:01
Good afternoon, and I hope you had a good bank holiday weekend. I’d like to start today by going through the latest figures. The total number of tests undertaken is 4569. We have had 4544 tests returned, which means there are 25 tests outstanding. Today we have no new cases. The total number of confirmed cases remains at 336. And there are now only seven active cases on our island. It now seems surreal that on December the 31st last year, China alerted the World Health Organisation to several cases of our of an unusual pneumonia in Wu Han. The virus was then unknown. As we came into a new decade with hope, a threat emerged that would challenge the world. Governments have always prepared for pandemics and we’re aware of the lives lost due to the Spanish flu. influenza of the 1920s but COVID-19 served as a stark reminder about how vulnerable an interconnected world is and the importance of coordinated action by governments and health services to preserve life. Due to your efforts, we’ve got past the peak, and the number of cases of Coronavirus has been suppressed. We’ve now gone for weeks with few if any new cases each day. People have recovered in the hospital, and our island is now in a much better place than even two weeks ago. This has been at a cost to many and we must never forget those of our community we have lost and those who’ve been left unable to grieve properly. Whilst isolated the people of our islands have worked together during the darkest times, volunteers care compassion, invention and bravery have made me mentally proud to call this on in my home. People have valued outdoor exercise recollect The streets on their bicycles and really started to consider where the food on their plate comes from. We need to bank these positives and make sure we can at least take some good out of all the loss we’ve been through. We must ensure that active travel is an intrinsic part of the new normal. This island has always been a sporting nation. But it’s always been inclusive, with anyone being able to participate in a range of activities to suit them. With the announcement last week of a relaxation of the guidelines on gatherings, all sports governing bodies have been sent information to help those involved in the management planning and organisation of outdoor sports to start a safe return. indoor sports facilities will remain closed at this time. But football pitches, rugby grounds, sports tracks and courts can reopen. There are still restrictions. No more than 10 people can be in a distinct area or venue. Social distancing must be maintained sharing of a quick Must be minimised and hygiene measures emphasised with changing rooms remaining closed. I would like to praise the Isle of Man Football Association and a range of other clubs who have been inventive, already carried out risk assessments and who plan to run outdoor training sessions and coaching. Sports like tennis golf balls, athletics and cricket, have already started to reengage with their existing members and are planning to attract new people to join them. Controlled outdoor exercise sessions and classes can restart. But please make sure you have the permission of the venue. If you’re intending to start using these. Water, sports, sports and fishing have restarted and as we start the summer now might be the time to try something different and take up a sport or pastime you’ve always been interested in
Christian Valley has shown what at least at least elite athletes can achieve with willpower and sheer determination. But if you have to stay at home Because somebody in your household has symptoms, or because you have an underlying health problem and need to shield there are a huge range of online classes on everything from fitness to yoga and parties to help you improve your own health and well being. We know that sports is more than just fitness. It helps us mentally and connects us to our island and to each other. I believe we need that connection now more than ever. Culture also connects us. Although performance has been cancelled and rescheduled the Arts Council have gone online to show how Manx culture lives on in our living rooms and gardens. Performance being supportive, and I hope that our streets will still soon have buskers back and outdoor performances that will lift our spirits and make a smile. Although the village theatre has closed its doors for a while. The memories of the last hundred and 20 years live on and can be shared. People can share a written memory on the gaiety theatres website or email An audio or video memory to Villa gay gaiety at Olive man dot i am. The villa gaiety team are also appealing for anyone with pictures, programmes or memorabilia to get in touch with plans to create a gallery as part of their anniversary celebrations in July. And artists are working to create ways of documenting what we are presently going through and the effects it has on all of our community. As we move forward, more children are attending Nursery in child minders, who have been excellent in adapting to new hygiene standards to ensure the safety of children left in their care, preschool providers if we continue to support working families, and I thank them for this. One of the building blocks of our community are at schools. Since most of these close two months ago teachers have been working to look after those children who need the most to be in school. They’ve gradually expanded hub schools to take in more children and allow more parents to return to work. Head to has been leading the way in developing online learning. But this can be challenging, especially for primary school pupils. They’ve used resources such as video lessons produced by the OIC National Academy in England, and those produced by the BBC to supplement bespoke home teaching. And yet teaching is much more than setting coursework and marking tests. Teachers are missing the interaction with their pupils and are aware of some who are not engaging with them fully. There is newfound appreciation for the value of schools and our education services. Parents are also more than aware of the lack of social interaction and personal development, the school closure is imposed and many are struggling to work full time at home and try to supervise and support their children through in through this difficult period. I’ve had many messages from them and your voice is being heard. We cannot let our child’s education continue to suffer and let some fall through the cracks while we try and repair our nation. That is wonderful. posing we bring children back to school in a gradual and organised way. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that children and young people are at low risk of catching the disease. If they do get it, they have much milder illness. They are not super spreaders and that schools can be reopened with modifications without significantly risking the health of pupils, staff or the wider community. Over the past few weeks head teachers have been working closely with department to look at their schools and carry out detailed risk assessments. They’ve been aided with visits from the health and safety teams and literally walked around their schools put together plans, systems and routines that will allow numbers of schools to expand while maintaining safety and the confidence of parents. I would like to thank the Director of Public Health for her personal help in speaking in advising teachers on the risks and opportunities available to them. The Department of ordered 100 hand washing stations to be distributed around schools and bespoke plans and now in place for the next phase of the half term. On Monday the 15th of June, all schools will reopen. And after two days of extra preparations, all the children who are already being taught in one of the hubs and their teachers will return to their own school. The department is currently working with all sectors of government to perfect plans for catering cleaning, support staff transport and testing capacity so that we can further reclaim our schools. Over the next week, couples will be discussing further plans to allow the key year groups to return to their schools. We need to ensure we have the right facilities and sufficient staff to restart face to face teaching and prioritise educational need. But for those pupils and staff we need to remain at home. We need to further engage in remote learning and offer enhanced support and reassurance. Teachers have had to respond to a rapidly changing situation with creativity, supporting those people still in school and using online Online Teaching and more traditionally paper based resources for those at home. Online Learning with real time lessons using it, platforms such as zoom and Microsoft Teams have been piloted by some, but there have been problems in terms of access, the department will clinic will continue to work with and support more schools in further developing this approach. As the chief minister said, we need to put our best foot forward. Over the next weeks we as an educational service need to examine how we move forward without leaving anyone behind. We will need to look at how we can let pupils catch up so that they are ready for the start of the next term. This may involve providing summer schools and camps by engaging with local communities and using the potential of teachers and volunteers. This health emergency is proved to be a wake up call for the value of education for the importance of our teachers and the role they play in our society. But also that we can do and should do more To ensure that all the children on our island have a chance to reach their full potential, and achieve the future that they dream of for themselves. Thank you very much for listening to that brief statement. And now I’d like to take some questions from the press. If I could start with Tim Glover from Manx radio.
Tim Glover 10:17
That’s my minister, just on these figures that you gave at the very start. There are seven active cases and five days I think now without any cases at all, which is really good news. But are two of the cases still at the hospital?
Alex Allinson 10:34
And that’s a good question. I can’t give the update from the hospital at the moment because I know that some of those residents for Abbotsford who were admitted to hospital this weekend, would you to be moved after being found to be free of the virus, and we’re going to be moved to more suitable place. So if they can’t give the exact numbers who was in the hospital, but it is decreasing. We haven’t had any new admissions. And hopefully the Health Minister can give you that that answered. Maura,
Tim Glover 11:01
thank you, just on the schools that she could just clarify what the full plan is because I think there’s a little bit of confusion out there as far as every 17th had been earmarked as the day for years to 610 and 12 and vulnerable to be coming back, but just for the others the other years. And he’s saying yes, a gradual way of bringing them back. They will want to know as soon as possible, because they will make plans over the summer, they may get reject, but where are you going to let people know what that plan is.
Alex Allinson 11:41
Um, what we’ve said is from the 15th, we’re going to be opening up all the schools, we’re going to need to do some quite serious modifications there in terms of how children get around the schools, how the classes are organised. So on the 17th, those children already in school will go back to their own schools. We’ll open them up in terms of Getting the year groups to six and 10 and 12. I will be making an announcement over the next week about that. We’re currently looking at some of the latest evidence that was produced by the independent Sage group on Friday, which looks at reopening of schools in the United Kingdom and had some cautions about it, but look, particularly at the risk in the community. Now, I hope we can work with teachers work with the teacher representatives, but also mainly work with public health, to look at the social distancing in schools because that’s key. I think most people now acknowledge that social distancing, particularly in a primary school environment, is near nearly impossible. But we’ve had the mentor of two metres right the way through this. And so we need to find a compromise if we’re going to allow and be able to manage a significant amount of children coming back into the schools that isn’t going to be taking risks with them. It isn’t gonna be making them into guinea pigs. And actually, I’ve been in conversation with them the education ministry in good NZ who’s planning to open all their schools within the next two weeks, and also contacted the Education Minister of New Zealand, who have brought in a one metre advisory role in schools and have managed to grow dramatically increase the ability of children’s come back. So what we’re trying to do is move forward in a very safe way on the latest scientific research. And as you know, each day there are more papers, more opinions being brought out. We need to do this safely because one of the questions David Ashford was asked, um, yesterday was, how many people are going to go and begin to feel confident of sending their children back to school even when the doors are open? We need to give them that confidence. We need to show that schools are safe for them, but also have the backup in terms of testing and tracing and isolating so that if people do get the virus, whether it’s at school or at home and they bring it in school, we can deal without we can control that we can manage that risk.
Tim Glover 13:56
You mentioned the social distancing. And as we are at the moment it is TB test, which is going to have a serious effect on the capacity of classrooms and the numbers that are going to be able to be housed in there. And are you looking at using village halls and other community buildings or even putting an old Canvas tents? What are the plans to expand capacity?
Alex Allinson 14:25
what we’ve been doing over the last few weeks is looking at the existing buildings, existing schools. But you’re quite right, if we need to make smaller classrooms, if we need to keep children together more, so they’re not mixing as much we will need extra capacity. So I’ve already been approached by people who have more keys on the Isle of Man, for instance, who aren’t renting them out at the moment to weddings, and social events because they aren’t happening. who’ve said if you want us to put that out, we will do that. We can look at temporary accommodation either in sports halls, village halls, those sort of areas. But the key to this is having the classes right, but also having the staff to be able to be able to run those classes. And that’s something we need to do over the next week is to see, as we open up the schools have we got the staff to do this as well, because we may need to have to teach in a slightly different way, perhaps using teachers assistance with streaming lessons into a classroom. And the teacher actually covering a couple of different classes that same time, we can do this and the inventiveness and the dedication of teachers have already shown that they will rise to the challenge of trying to deal with some of the real restrictions that we’re having to deal with at the moment.
Tim Glover 15:37
And just still on the schools, and could you just give us an idea of with social distancing as it is, what a typical classroom will look like,
Alex Allinson 15:51
you know, again, social distancing is only just one of a whole range of measures so that the key is that if a child is sick, they shouldn’t be going to school in the first Place if a member of staff is sick, they shouldn’t be walking through the door, they should be washing their hands regularly or using hand sanitizer. If they cough, they should do it into their elbow, all these things that we’ve been trying to drum in, right away through this, this health emergency. In terms of social distancing, if we stick to the two metre rule, teachers have been going around classrooms measuring up, we’re perhaps looking at class classes of maybe six up to 10 in each class, with a teacher there. That’s really quite restricting. And also, we need to think about the the mental effect of walking into a classroom which looks and feels very different than one you left just over two months ago, how we deal with that transition with with the children themselves, because it will be quite frightening for them to go into class and be told not to touch anyone else, not to go near anyone else, not not to do the sort of things that they used to doing. Instead of sitting opposite one of their friends, they will be sitting beside them so they don’t breathe or cough over that person. So we’re working with teachers now to see how we can actually bring them Those ideas into the reality of a classroom. And as I said, what we’re going to be doing this week is working with public health, looking at all the available scientific evidence to find perhaps a better way of doing that in classrooms. So we can preserve some of that normality at a very abnormal time for those children.
Tim Glover 17:18
And what about clay and lunchtimes?
Alex Allinson 17:22
One of the plans that have been brought forward by teachers is to operate class class sizes, and reduce class sizes, but also operating in a bubble so that the same children play together, have lunch together, have their lessons together. That makes it a lot easier to control any particular risk, but also makes it easier to in terms of looking at any contact tracing, should we find that we get cases coming through in from the community into schools. And again, I think governments as a whole have been quite clear that as we move forward, we need to have that capacity to stop at times, or perhaps move, you know, move backwards if we were to get a surge of increasing numbers of cases. So one of the things we’ve been looking at is if we were to get a child who, who became sick and in school, how we take them out of that school environment, how we do the testing, how we do the regular cleaning of that school. So all these things are being dealt with, and will be finalised by the time we open the doors to all schools.
Unknown Speaker 18:26
Joshua, now, here’s,
Alex Allinson 18:29
Josh, if I can take some questions from you, please.
Josh Stokes 18:32
Yeah, thank you, Minister. And you said the schools will be opening it and there won’t be a choice on whether people can return. Presumably not all pupils will be turning up on day one, though, given that choice, and if so, how essential will what is being taught be and will their timetables be expected to change in some way?
Alex Allinson 18:49
I think the timetable is going to have to change we’re going to have to we’ve already been looking at staggered times for people to come into schools and go out of schools. So you don’t have large numbers of people gathering outside. We were also looking at how you restructure the day to have staggered, break times, take a play times a second lunch times as well. But key to all this is that flexibility that teachers have been coming up with. And what they’ve been doing with health and safety advice is going around their schools trying to figure out the best way for them to provide that service. So I think in terms of the curriculum as well, that that will be challenging, because people will want to catch up on some of the things they’ve lost. But as you say, we may not get everyone back at the same time. So we need to do that in a pragmatic way on using recorded lessons and can help people at home catch up with those colleagues that perhaps in schools at the same time.
Josh Stokes 19:43
Okay, thank you. Um, my second question, how much consultation is done in your department with head teachers and teaching unions? And can you just give us a bit of info on what what does that involve?
Alex Allinson 19:51
Yeah. Unfortunately, at the moment, a lot of that is having to be carried out virtual virtually. So each week over the last couple of weeks, the education people I’m gonna be meeting with all the head teachers of the clusters. So north, south, east and west, going through with them what they need to move forward to the next stage. They’ve also been working in terms of public health, and the health and safety advisors to get them linking in with, with the head teachers as well. And we’ve been trying to cascade down all the information we have now to get from the head teachers down to the to the teachers themselves. And I think, overwhelmingly head teachers have been eager to get back into their own schools, I think they feel a bit frustrated being in the hubs and wants to get back to the to their own environment. In terms of the unions, I’m in regular contact with them, again, either by phone or by email, we’re sending some emails through to some of them today. With with details of the next steps, we need to all move forward together. I know that I’ve inherited some some lack of trust between the teachers and the department. And I recognise that and apologise for that. It’s very hard to rebuild that while you’re on the other side of the screen rather than when you’re ready. face to face. But what I will be doing when we reopen the schools is go around to all of them, I’ve really been renting the hub schools, the ground to all of them to introduce myself again, listen to what they need, and try to provide as much support and advice as possible.
Josh Stokes 21:14
So communication will improve, as you say, communication has
Alex Allinson 21:16
to improve and right across government, but of all the departments that need more communication, it has to be education. We’ve got a large workforce, we’ve got a huge challenge. Every school is different. Every child is different and has to be treated in the right way. And so that dialogue backwards and forwards is incredibly important. I have all the heads of the teacher unions, phone numbers, they have my phone number. And I’d like to think that if they do run into problems or do have a question to ask, whether it’s about opening up schools, whether it’s about the education bill coming back into two more whole range of things, they they feel free to contact me and have those discussions. We will try to work together. And we will disagree obviously about certain aspects, but we’ll try to Working together, because all of us want the best for the children of the Isle of Man.
Josh Stokes 22:04
Okay, thank you and a question about PP, if I may, what sort of level of PP will teachers be expected to use?
Alex Allinson 22:11
What we’ve made quite clear is that we will not force either teachers or pupils to use masks, and those sort of those sorts of equipment. We have made PPU available to teachers. And we’ve also carried out risk assessments in terms of when those might be used. So for instance, if a child becomes unwell and physically sick in a school, then you might be using PP, for some of the units with children with extra educational needs, you might need PP there with you’re very, very close to them. And also we need to look after our staff in terms of those with pre existing medical conditions who may not be able to return back to school, because they’re shielding and how we harness their expertise to actually provide some of the online learning We’re going to be needing for the near future. Because again, we’ve got some children with very specific medical conditions in our community who might not feel safe enough to come back to school. So the PCP is there in terms of aprons, masks and gloves, that has been sent out to schools already. And if they need some more, we will have supplies of that. And also, we’ve made sure that the testing 14 for teachers is one of our foremost priorities. So if teachers do get sick, they will be they will be tested as a priority. And also, if any of their family members get sick, they will be tested as a priority. So we can really try to to isolate and deal with this virus as closely as possible. One of the things that teachers have often said to me is, are we talking about social gatherings and not having mass gatherings Actually, we were doing that already in schools, we’re bringing people together in relatively large numbers. On last week, we had over 500 children in the various schools around the islands which has been going up gradually, as it has with nurseries and child minders. However, we know that the school environments is very different in many ways to, to a large crowd in a football, football field. So we can deal with that risk, we could now quantify that risk and hopefully move forward together, both in terms of teachers, the parents who are incredibly important with all this, and the pupils themselves.
Josh Stokes 24:19
Okay, thank you.
Alex Allinson 24:20
Um, back Back to you, Tim.
Tim Glover 24:24
Thank you. The department was under investigation was met, the chief minister was looking at how the department was going. Is there any news on that? And also just this this an opportunity, like the health minister said, there’s some of the treatments that will be coming back and we’ll be different? Is this an opportunity for education, to look at how we did things, and can we make some changes to the way we do it in the future?
Alex Allinson 24:49
Absolutely. First of all, it wasn’t an investigation. It was a report an independent report on both the structure and function and role of the education department. And also looking at its relationship with both unions with teachers and with pupils how how things happen at the moment, and to have an external view of whether that’s the best way, or whether we could actually do it far better in a leaner way. I think you’re quite right that people are already looking at what we’re doing now. And thinking Actually, we don’t want to lose this. For instance, with some of the a level courses we have relatively small numbers. We up until now have been busing pupils from one school to another to amalgamate classes. Now that we’ve using online teaching in the future, surely they could stay in their own schools and zoom into a class in another school that would help them with their education. It would save an awful lot of time, both for them and their parents and staff members. But we can use some of the new technologies to to expand the education provision on the island. We also need to look at just the working day. If we’ve got for instance, a level students are at the moment they have to come Come into school for what is seen as free free lessons where they’re given study time, we surely they could do that from home and perhaps email their teachers with various questions and have to use tutorials online. So I think you’re quite right. Although this virus has been a huge disruption, disruptors can sometimes bring out the best in us, it makes us re examine what we’re doing, challenge what we’re doing, and hopefully adopt some of the things we’ve had to do now, but take those forward to actually make the education system even better in the future.
Tim Glover 26:31
And just a couple of other points that I made. And we’ve had a bit of correspondence and at valid convenience convenes school announced at the end of the day on Thursday, that a three day year 12 trial is going to be taking place next week. And he says give us a bit more detail on what that’s about.
Alex Allinson 26:49
Yeah, I mean, various head teachers have been thinking about how they can prepare their schools going forward. Particularly Ballymena been looking at the logistics of getting their children Round the round the school, again, get the capacity issue can’t come comes comes to the fore. Because if we’re going to get all those children back, we may have to stagger the days stagger the times. So what the department are doing is working with those individual head teachers who know their school, know their pupils know their staff, well, to figure out the best way that they can provide, as we go into the latter part of this academic year, how they can get the most children in to actually meet their educational needs.
Tim Glover 27:30
And just more generally, and this has cropped surprise a few times over this bank holiday weekend to question lots of sensors are starting to now go back when assembled members going to be physically back in the court and a subpoena and let’s go
Alex Allinson 27:45
Yeah, um, I think that’s a that’s an extremely important point, both here and different legislators have been wrestling with that. We’ve seen the House of Commons trying to get people back in because whilst we’ve continued to work Online, it actually is quite difficult to have a decent debate with somebody when you’re not looking at them face to face. Also, I think the reality is that politicians, by their nature are quite sociable animals. And once you isolate them from that, you cut down on those roots of communication, those roots of understanding. And that doesn’t lead for good governance. I would like to think that we can get back to a physical Tim world in the near future. But the start of this we did have issues where some people due to pre existing medical problems or issues with their family weren’t confident enough to come back to Tim old. So I think we do have to do some work there to to actually get their confidence back to reassure them that coming into that that area is safe, and then we can move forward
Tim Glover 28:48
as a parliament. And that’s true across all sectors of society.
Alex Allinson 28:52
It is indeed I mean, and politicians are humans, we have the same fears for ourselves and our families. every one else with this. And I’m hoping that as we get the confidence as we see the number of cases really going down, as we know that we’ve got the testing, and the isolation, the control mechanisms in place, we can actually come back together. But but actually some of the new technologies coming up we’ve been using Microsoft Teams for for contacting people for running various briefings. We can carry on with that, particularly during that during the summer, we can carry on that that that business as usual, but do it in a different way.
Thank you. And Josh, you’ve asked another question.
Josh Stokes 29:36
Now, thanks for the stem. Is there any update on uni students returning to the UK to start University next year and also them being able to acquire their possessions that may have been stuck overseas? They’re not there on that.
Alex Allinson 29:46
Yes, I’m, in terms of if we can take that your first point. I think we’ve been getting some different messages in different universities. We heard that Cambridge, for instance, will claim to do everything online. For the next academic year, other universities, though, have said that they will open their doors as usual. And so I think we are going to have that that fragmentation. I would like to think that as we get into September, if the current trend continues in the United Kingdom, it would be safe for all universities to start their courses again. But some of them particularly for international students, will probably want to have an online offering as well. So those people who perhaps can’t get into their universities can still keep up with it with their lessons. And I think we’ll probably have a hybrid, they will have some people conference, go back to universities, but other people who will perhaps stay on online and carry on with their courses or starting their courses for the near future until we know exactly what’s going on. In terms of those students who who’ve got positions across. I’d like to thank everyone who responded to the press release last last Monday. We had 312 students saying they were in that position, and where they have positions across that they’re having problems get getting hold off. But they were from 65 different facilities, and which ranged from Aberdeen to Plymouth, some more in halls of residence, about 71 were in halls of residence, but over 240 were in private accommodation. So everyone had it had various different different issues in terms of getting there getting their possessions back. I know, for instance, that some Liverpool edgehill University where we had 24 students there, they were having problems even trying to get access to the rooms, because they’d been closed down by the university. But I’d like to thank all those courier firms and package firms that have come forward. We’ve really quite imaginative ways of getting those positions back offering free packing. And I’m actually going to be writing to all those facilities that were most students are having problems at the moment, making them aware of the particular issues with the borders and trying to make sure that they open their doors so that those students can get their belongings packed. Can I put them in storage or get them shipped back? Obviously government is continually looking at the border issue, but at the moment we are you know, we can’t facilitate people going for day trips to the UK just to pick up possessions. And we need a better way of making sure that they’re safe dealing with those people who are in private accommodation who may need to get out really quite quickly. And we’ll be publishing on the department’s website, the list of all those careers, you couldn’t provide this service now at a very reasonable price to get those positions back into safety.
Josh Stokes 32:22
Okay, thank you. Is there an update on nurseries perhaps reopening and what will the difference be there and within that,
Alex Allinson 32:29
in terms of nurseries and char and char minders as well. Off the 50 nurseries on the Isle of Man 10 have stayed open for children who were seen as vulnerable or the children of key workers and have a 75. childminders 33 have remained open. We’ve seen that number gradually increase. We’ve also seen the number of children needing to access preschool, childcare increase as well. And what we’ve been doing is working quite closely with this sector to reassure them to provide them with the right guidance. I didn’t particularly in terms of hygiene, because I, again, dealing with very young children is incredibly challenging. There’s no such thing as social isolation, when you’ve got somebody that that young, so we’re working with them to provide everything that they need, and all the advice they need to gradually expand their service as the number of children who need to come back from working from these increases.
Josh Stokes 33:22
Okay, thank you.
Tim Glover 33:24
And just one more sorry, thank you very much. You’ve been very obliging. And in order to instil this confidence in people and to get the world going again, we’re still and we understand why it was originally in a state of emergency. Once we start coming out to this Orwellian world that we’re in at the moment, that’s naturally isn’t the kind of instil confidence in people.
Alex Allinson 33:49
Yes. And we’ve seen just today that Japan have lifted this state of emergency, even though they’re they’re actually having a slight rise in cases but they feel secure, that they’ve got the measures in place that people Understand what they need to do, I think you’re quite right. We have to, we have to, and we should trust the public people. Without them, we’d be in a completely different position. People at the Isle of Man have embraced the risk if embraced what we need to do to get through this together and and moving forward. And I think government does recognise that and as soon as we can lift the state of emergency, we will do that. Now. That’s the legal aspects of the idea of declaring a state of emergency was a pragmatic way at the start of this of dealing with a couple of things. For instance, a by election in Douglas that needed to be called the local authority elections that needed to happen, which obviously would have been false at the same time as we were trying to get people to stay indoors. But now that we’ve got the extra legislation we need, I think we are getting closer to re examine how we move forward, how we get rid of the state of emergency but still have that stay safe method message and still remain alert to to the risk so that if we get a second wave, if we get a resurgence of the virus, we can actually stop. Correct. And then move forward again. Thank you.
Josh Stokes 35:09
Sorry, I’m gonna see I just find one for me and putting your doctor’s hat on for this question, really? What level of infection Do you believe the UK needs to be at to make it safe enough to open the borders because it was mentioned last week about it possibly needing to reach the level of a common cold. But I just wonder what your understanding of this was.
Alex Allinson 35:25
Yeah. The Independent status report was published on on on Friday was very interesting in terms of the risk they were looking at particularly risk of going to school in the UK, and thought that the proposed time at the beginning of June was a bit too soon, and that the risk would decrease dramatically over the next two weeks. So they were sort of saying the 15th of June was a much better time to look at expanding schools. We’re in a completely different situation here. With the viral risk the R naught number must be fairly close to zero now, and when you look at other jurisdictions such as and particularly Ireland, such as, um, Jersey, Guernsey, but also So New Zealand and Singapore, they’re in a much better position. I think in the United Kingdom, we’ve seen that. Although the epicentre was originally in London, the number of new cases the number of deaths has decreased. But it seems to be gradually creeping up and the same ways it crept across Europe. And we had Italy first and then went on. I think, hopefully within the next two or three weeks, we will see a significant decrease in the risk in places like Scotland and Wales in the north of England, the English government have said that they’re going to bring in border restrictions at the end of next month. And obviously, they have their own reasons for doing that. Our border with the United Kingdom and with Southern Ireland, as part of the common travel area, obviously is very important for us. And we will look at the overall risk for that border. But the achievements have made it quite clear that our borders are one of our first and last weapons against the spread of this virus. So we’re complete relaxation would be the last thing we do. Okay, thank you, Minister. Okay. Well, I’d just like to thank you very much for showing interest on it on a bank holiday when it’s nice and sunny out outside. And thank you very much for your time. We’ve stopped sort of doing shoutouts. But I was contacted by a teacher earlier on today who really wanted to say thank you to miss Kaylee at cranberry school, and for working tirelessly to support teachers, parents, and pupils accessing online learning, and obviously we’re moving towards new technologies, new way of do ways of doing things together. So I just like to thank Miss Kaylee and all the other teachers out there who don’t do an a sterling job to support parents and pupils. But but ends by just wishing you a very good bank holiday Monday. And remember, although we’re we’re expanding what we can do, although we’re doing more, we’re trying to get back to a sense of normality. Please stay safe as much as you can, both for your own sake, your family’s sake, but also your island sake. Thank you and goodbye.