This is a very rough and unverified transcript of the Isle of Man Government Press Conference conducted on 30 October 2020.
You should not rely upon it — it is transcribed by an automated online speech recognition service, and I cannot guarantee its accuracy. Any Manx Gaelic words are very likely to be very inaccurate.
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.
Howard Quayle 0:00
Well, good afternoon, everyone. The page continues to turn on the COVID-19 story, but unfortunately, a happy ending is not yet in sight. We continue to wait for news that Coronavirus is in retreat and other countries and the number of infections and admissions to hospital is starting to fall. That day welcome. But it is not yet here. France and Germany have announced new lockdowns. A study published this week by Imperial College London says the epidemic in England is accelerating with the number of infections doubling every nine days. That’s almost 100,000 people catching Coronavirus every day, with cases rising in every age group and region. The report warns that the measures in place have not prevented the odd number from increasing. Tuesday saw the highest daily death toll since last May, with sadly 367 deaths recorded. Scientists warn that the second wave of COVID has not yet peaked and may be longer than the first. Also this week, researchers have suggested that immunity against Coronavirus may only last a few months after infection based on sharp and on a sharp fall and the number of people testing positive for antibodies. What that means for the Isle of Man is continued vigilance, we must constantly scrutinise and adapt measures we believe are right for our neighbour island nation. In the summer, we eliminated the virus and maintained the COVID free status for more than 100 days. We now have a small number of cases among people self isolating, I can confirm that we have one new confirmed case, the individual reported symptoms while self isolating after travelling to the Isle of Man and close contacts have been identified. We have a test track and trace system that allows us to monitor the situation closely. Our health service has plans and resources to manage a further outbreak should it happen. In the islands people are living without social distancing facemask so all the daily restrictions, schools and workplaces are open events are being staged. People can enjoy themselves. We are comfortably on top of things, but it is vital we continue to assess the impact on us of events in the United Kingdom and beyond. Back in the summer, I imagine most of us thought that by autumn, the pandemic would be largely behind us. Instead, almost 11 million people in the United Kingdom are living under unprecedented restrictions. So with the situation on course to become worse before it gets better. We are investigating all options on how we can recalibrate outlook. further announcements will be made and the outcome from this work in the near future. But first I welcome back to the podium health and social care Minister David Ashford on the bed rest looks to have done good David, over to you.
David Ashford 3:07
Thank you very much Chief Minister. One issue I want to raise today is in relation to the procedure of people making an appointment with the GP with the GP surgery. The Chief Minister and I have stood here many times to praise the Manx public for their incredible commitments in helping all Ireland through the pandemic. And it has been amazing how as a community we have come together. But I’ve got to say it has been a bit disappointing that I have heard reports in recent weeks of staff in GPS practices being spoken to rudely and even aggressively when the practice staff have asked the questions they need to ask before booking an appointment. GP practices and the Department have agreed on a standard procedure when people call for an appointment and it applies to all GP surgeries. Yes, as an island we have kept Coronavirus COVID-19 at bay. But it hasn’t gone away all together. Our frontline health staff play a vital role protecting the most vulnerable patients and ensuring that our vital services continue to run. So when patients call the doctor the receptionist does need to ask a number of questions to see if any precautions are needed before that person attends the surgery. These include asking whether the person has had any COVID-19 symptoms and whether they have travelled of Ireland recently. The patient’s request for an appointment is dealt with after this step. The questionnaire is essentially a risk assessment, a basic screening which has been implemented on the basis of professional advice. It is best practice similar questions are asked to patients before they go into hospital. And the ambulance service also takes a similar approach. So I’ve just asked people to bear in mind and remember that the staff are asking these questions to keep us all safe as a community if a risk is identified, it does Don’t mean the patient can’t have an appointment. It just means that the appointment has to be more carefully planned. I’ve heard that patients are saying there is no community covid cases in the island. So why should I have to answer the questions. Reception staff have also, I believe been told to mind their own business, or in some cases worse. Some of these encounters have left GP practice staff deeply upset and distressed. As patients when we go to the GPS, we expect to be treated with courtesy, dignity and respect. And surgery staff should be able to expect the same. These unpleasant encounters are making life difficult for GP staff. And we need to reverse that. If patients refuse to cooperate, then ultimately it is going to delay them getting an appointment. The fact is, we do need to maintain our guard against the virus and ensure that sensible precautions are in place. And that questionnaire is part of this. It’s for everyone’s sake. None of this is obviously ideal. But life is far from perfect at the moment, but we are better off the most. Our GP practices worked exceptionally hard, during and since the pandemic to do their very best for patients and run their practices in line with the guidance, which was unfair, familiar and for some scary. GPS are often our first point of call when we have a health problem. Many of us value our relationship with our doctor. It is one of trust and confidence. Nothing about the receptionist’s question and questions changes that. So please can I just appeal that we all uphold mutual tolerance and respect and continue to show that great community spirit that has really been at the forefront of this year. Thank you, Chief Minister.
Howard Quayle 6:49
Thank you very much, David. Now the Council of Ministers has considered a series of options. Yesterday, we had a look in detail at a number of options for modifying our testing regime. Last week, I promised we would look again at how we can help patients who travelled to the United Kingdom for medical treatment on a regular basis. Having to isolate for 14 days after each visit means that some patients are in almost perpetual isolation if they then travel within two weeks for another appointment. The unhappy situation also affects a small number of patients, and we will act to help them. We have agreed to a test on day seven for patients with two or more appointments in a rolling four week period. And the same will apply to their escorts. Providing the test is negative patients and escorts will be released from isolation under the same rules as when we offered day seven testing for all returning residents. We’ve also looked at a new regime for key workers who reside in the Isle of Man who common go for work purposes, but often find their isolation periods at home or almost exclusively spent in self isolation for the entire period. We have agreed that these workers can also assess a test on day seven to be released from isolation after a negative test and allowed a level of freedom subject to the same restrictions as the previous day seven test. Both changes will be available as soon as the necessary legislative changes have been made, which we expect to be in place early next week. And now turn to Brexit. I’m sure many of you will be aware that negotiations to agree a new relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union have intensified over recent weeks. there remain However, some significant areas of disagreement. Both sides are eager to reach a settlement to give businesses and people a stable environment in which to continue to trade. But key differences in opt in opinion remain in particular to fisheries and the level playing field will remain in close contact with the United Kingdom Government and our friends on the Channel Islands, both political and officer level. We are keeping abreast of developments in the negotiations and ensuring that our interests are protected and represented within the talks. But we cannot make assumptions on the outcome of these talks. Whilst there is room for hope, there is still a very real possibility that they may yet fail. There are now 63 days until the transition period comes to an end. new rules will come into force for the United Kingdom and ourselves from the first of January 2021. For many people, there won’t be any change. But if you visit the EU trade with the EU or come from the EU, then it is important to check if there is anything you need to do to prepare for these rule changes. We have identified areas where our people and our businesses may need to do things differently. We have refreshed our websites to ensure that everything is up to date and relevant. We have also updated our interactive guide which is available at Gov dot i m, and you will see information popping up on our social media channels. A wide range of topics are covered. They include on EU EU settlement scheme, which enables EU EEA and Swiss citizens to protect their rights to continue living in the Isle of Man. We should all check our passports, which needs to be valid for at least six months when we travel. We wouldn’t want see any of our citizens stranded at a UK airport because they did not check their passport. There are new rules to follow when travelling to the EU, including information on travelling with pets. The website explains the new customs procedures and has information for export and important business and import businesses. Now this is just a flavour as there is too much to mention here. It is all set out on the website and guide which offer an easy to use overview and there are signposts to other documents and websites for anyone who needs further detail.
Now it’s not often we talk about scallops at the media briefing, but I want to mention that the measures which we have put in place for the start of the king scallop season on Sunday. So many things about this pandemic are described as unprecedented, but the word is apt. We can see almost literally an issue coming over the horizon. Crews from Scotland and Northern Ireland who are licenced to fish in Manx waters use our harbours. As our borders are closed, we have to put in place security and safety measures to ensure visiting crews do not breach our border restrictions. The scallop season is important to our local fish processing sector, and we have made arrangements for the catch from visiting boats to be landed. It has been quite complex to arrange, but the basic rule is straightforward. Visiting fishermen will be allowed to tie up their vessels in Douglas and peel but must not disembark for any reason. officers have had close contact with their counterparts in other jurisdictions to ensure the measures are understood. We welcome the visit visiting fishermen. But this year on a new regime, there will unfortunately be fencing and some security staff at the harbours creating I suppose a tangible border. It may feel and look a little strange. But we have no active covid cases in the community. And we want to keep it that way. The elements borders are currently closed to non residents. And that includes fishermen. And now two questions from the media. And thank you all for your patience and I apologise for yesterday’s yesterday’s briefing had to be postponed. First up today is Rob Pritchard from three FM Good afternoon, Rob Foster, my
Josh Stokes 12:59
customer Chief Minister, my first question to both of you, what are both your initial reactions to the resignation of Dr. Rachel Glover this week? And why do you think that situation has reached this point?
Howard Quayle 13:10
I’m I’m very surprised. I think as as David has been dealing with this, I let David answer this this one on our behalf on both our behalf.
David Ashford 13:19
Yes, thank you. Well, obviously I’m saddened that Rachel’s decided to take that course of action. But it is a decision for her. But I think one of the important things to stress is our entire our entire response. We have very highly qualified microbiologists, we have very highly qualified staff in pathology, our entire system is not based around one individual person. And I know that some stuff within the department I’ve actually been quite upset about the way things have been reported over the last few weeks, in terms of the fact that it’s been suggested that everything is reliant on one person. In fact, you’ve given me an ideal opportunity because I actually received a letter yesterday from a member of dhsc staff, which, with your indulgence to minister I will actually read. I’ve spoken to the person, they’re happy enough for me to read the letter as long as I don’t share their name. But they wrote to me, which I received last night in the following terms. Dear minister, I’m writing to you to make you aware of how demoralised many of us feel over the media coverage of the last few weeks. The implication that our entire testing regime is down to one individual, and would not function without them is as far from the truth can be. The media reporting and social media comments that I’ve seen over the last week or so have left me feeling Why do I bother? We are very lucky on Ireland to have highly trained and skilled staff who by working as a team have been able to put in place a testing regime that is second to none, and will be the envy of many countries. But for the media to portray that this is down to one individual or posture individuals views as definitive is highly insulting to the rest of us, who over this year have all work long hours, and sacrifice both personal and family life. In order to keep our island safe. Dr. Glover deserves praise for the work that she has undertaken. But that work has only been possible. Due to the fact she has been working as part of a wider team. Those of us in the wider team have just quietly got on with our jobs, we are not looking for praise or recognition. But when you see headlines suggesting and portraying that one individual is responsible for all of the hard work undertaken by the entire team. It is a real body blow. The implication felt by many of us is that it is being implied that the rest of us are either not qualified or competent enough to do our jobs, which could not be further from the truth. I wish the both the media and those on social media would think before they publish or post and think about the demoralising effect that Ill informed comments can have on those of us who have been working above and beyond, day in and day out for over half a year. Now. I will leave it there. But I can’t help but say that the last week and a bit has felt like a real kick in the teeth to all of us who have worked so hard to ensure we have a system that works and can’t emphasise enough how demoralised it is left many of us fear loss feeling who are just quietly getting on with our jobs in helping to keep our Ireland safe. So I want to put on record my thanks to the entire team, both across microbiology and pathology, Rachel has paid an absolutely important part in that. And she you know, she we have employed her for her skills. She has, you know, as a contractor, she has done extreme amount of work, but it is the wider team as well. And we do have valuable systems within both pathology and microbiology and a range of highly skilled staff. And I want to put on record my sincere thanks to them today. Thank you, Chief Minister.
Howard Quayle 16:53
Thank you very much, David. And now Rob, your second question.
Josh Stokes 16:57
Thank you. This is one that I noticed from a residence online actually on different nodes and given infections in the UK if they do follow this particular trend that they could increase into the likes of March and April next year. What if anything, is the government considered to assess residents who can’t afford to lose work leaving the island to visit their immediate family for whatever reason they need to?
Howard Quayle 17:17
Well, these are things we’re looking at at this moment, Rob, it’s not an easy picture. Well, there’s promises going around that a vaccine will be weathers sort of February, March time, I sincerely hope that’s the case, and that it will be an effective vaccine. But we can’t predict at this moment in time. Yes, it’s hard for people wanting to go away to visit family, we’re looking at helping as many people as we can we know we’ve got Christmas coming over. That’s something the Council of Ministers is discussing. But equally we I don’t you read articles recently predicting that the whole of the United Kingdom could be in lockdown for for for Christmas, and and going forward for a lengthy period. And I know Spain are looking at having a form of lockdown till the end of March of next year. So some of that is out of our control. We are my number one concern and that’s at the Council of Ministers, and I’m sure all timbal members is to ensure we protect life on the Isle of Man and enable our economy to continue to to thrive. But of course, we are aware of the number of people who haven’t family on the island and are wanting to go and see family but their annual leave is they’re going to struggle to fit that all in with a 14 day period. So it’s something we’re aware of I can’t give you sadly an answer now because there is no answer anywhere in the world on how we handle this situation. Thank you very much, Rob. Next we have Paul Moulton from Isle of Man television. Good afternoon, Paul mastermind. You want to unmute yourself, which I will mute and start again. Can you hear me? We can indeed Oh,
Unknown Speaker 18:58
I thought it was all technology that has done for me. So my apologies. Before I get my first question, I do have to make a some sort of retort to what you read out. This actually you’re basically trying to put in here that the press shouldn’t do their job. Surely, the fact is, our job is to question what we know about and because Dr. Glover hasn’t done any press we are only going her tweets, but that is opposition. Surely we can’t be blamed. And I’m using that word as the press for reporting things.
David Ashford 19:27
And that’s only agree. I’m not blaming the media in any way for reporting things. What I am doing is I’m reading out a letter which I have received from members of staff, which I received in the post yesterday, which I think is you know, which I think their view is just as legitimate as anyone elses. But it is important that there is balanced to these things and I think that letter brings balance to this.
Unknown Speaker 19:49
And your job is to obviously retort to things that come out that’s what we’re doing these press
David Ashford 19:53
Yeah. And and in fact, we did an interview on Monday where we discuss this very issue
Howard Quayle 19:58
right, your question? The motion presentation
Unknown Speaker 20:01
tool on Tuesday, didn’t she? So what’s her information? What was see was it acted upon? And what happened? What extra can tell us about that?
David Ashford 20:09
What the information the presentation timbal members was around testing. So it was around PCR, what does a PCR test do? So it was factual information. It wasn’t recommendations or anything like that. It was explaining what a PCR test is, what its limitations are, and why it is classed as the gold standard test. It was an absolutely excellent presentation, it was very well received by members. And I think it has made it a lot clearer to members of Tim Ward, why we use PCR testing, and why that is the gold standard test compared to all the tests that are on the market.
Unknown Speaker 20:42
So you will be acting upon her advice on that really?
David Ashford 20:45
Well, the world’s no advice. It was a technical presentation around how PCR works.
Howard Quayle 20:50
Guy. Just remind you, Paul, before you start your second question, that we have Mr. Khan, who was head of our microbiology, and a number of highly qualified people in that team, who advise government and advise our goal committee on on decisions that which help the Council of Ministers form their decisions. So this, you know, whilst we respect the information on the presentation was very good and well attended by all accounts. It we have our own qualified people who are full time employees of government advising the Council of Ministers on this one. So your next question, Paul?
Unknown Speaker 21:26
Well, you’re the reason we didn’t have the press conference yesterday, said workshops. I understand it really was a table tech tabletop exercise by komen, looking at all the different scenarios and you release some of that information there. What you said earlier, was a more to it that Have you got a full way forward from now on, and that you have a pathway that you can take?
Howard Quayle 21:45
Well, yes, we’ve released some of what we discussed yesterday, Paul, but obviously there was more where Council of Ministers needed further information. I don’t like announcing things until we’ve got a clear pathway on how we’re going to operate it to make sure that we we can operate that. And we felt we needed another week on some of the greater detail on how we were going to implement what we’re going to announce. So I would hope that next week, we’ll have more from yesterday’s meeting. But it did go a lot longer because it we’re dealing with highly complex situation at this moment. It’s fast moving, and we’ve got to get it right for the or as best as we can for the people of the island. And oh, David, would you add anything?
David Ashford 22:22
Yeah. So obviously Council of Ministers continuously reviews the policies we have in place, we tend to review policies on a two week rolling basis, which I think we’ve discussed in interviews before, Paul, this is no different yesterday, we were looking at all the various facets, obviously the change in the situation in the UK, where it continues to see growth plays into that. So it was one of those review processes and times. And unfortunately, basically
Unknown Speaker 22:50
everything new Well, today, obviously things can change. But you sort of got a blueprint for various scenarios, correct?
David Ashford 22:57
Well, we look at we look at every single policy that we have an operation and at that particular time, and whether it is still working and whether we need to adapt things. And that is the correct way to do it because all of the different policies interlink.
Howard Quayle 23:12
Okay, thanks very much, Paul, we now move on to Simon Richardson from business 365. Good afternoon, Simon. Faster. My
Unknown Speaker 23:20
Good afternoon, gentlemen. And if I could return to the issue of testing. Now, I think it’s Dr. Glover, who’s on record is saying that by teaching the seven day test option for people coming back to the island, we are effectively depriving ourselves of valuable data. Now, she suggested I think it was 14 days isolation from the test on day 13 and release on day 14. Now, the rationale was I think that we at least know what the covid 19 impact great was, and be able to do the genomics for track and trace should it spread. Now, to the layman. That sounds like a common sense approach.
Howard Quayle 24:03
David Ashford 24:04
Yeah. So this is something myself and Dr. Glover agree on. In terms of surveillance testing, I think we do need to move to some form of surveillance testing. But again, that needs to be decided Is it the 14 days or otherwise, but one of the crucial things as well, is one of the things I’m not in favour of doing is going down the route of mandatory testing for people. I think in terms of testing, it must be the person that decides they’re happy to be tested. The problem with 14 day testing is once a 14 day isolation is off, they’re not getting any benefit from having that test. So it wouldn’t be a charge for tests. It would be done as surveillance, but it’s not a pleasant experience for testing. It’d be interesting to see how many people really did uptake it if we offered 14 day testing. That was the course the other thing with seven day and test because there was a benefit to the individual from that because they were paying for the test. And if they came back as negative, they were allowed for the second week. Basically unmodulated self isolation and modified self isolation, which obviously we had to remove because the situation in the UK, but Council of Ministers well over over the next couple of weeks be looking at what we can do around potentially surveillance testing. Because one thing I do agree with Rachel on is it is useful information to have.
Howard Quayle 25:20
Unknown Speaker 25:22
Yeah. Secondly, I mean, we’ve seen the escalation in cases in the UK. What do you perceive as the worst case scenario for the Isle of Man? Is there a point at which you would consider holding all on essential movements on and off the island again?
Howard Quayle 25:39
We can never say never, I I sincerely hope that’s not the situation. I know how important it is for for our local people to go away to to visit families, but where we’re seeing significant lockdowns and most of Europe at this moment in time, if the situation is the situation gets worse on the whole of the UK was in total lockdown, because the virus was in the thousands per hundred thousand saved them. That’s something we would have to look at again, but it’s not in our imminent plans at this moment. But I can’t give you know, we’ll never do that situation, that the that that situation will never arise, Simon, so I hope it won’t, I hope we’ll never be in that position again. But I can give no guarantees. But we’re not discussing it at the moment and Council of Ministers just to reassure everyone. Thank you very much, Simon. Now we’ll move on to Alex Wharton from Manx radio. Good afternoon, Alex faster. My
Unknown Speaker 26:31
I too want to focus on testing, if I may, on the 15th of October, you said you’d increase your daily testing capacity from 300 to 800. As of yesterday, 53 people waiting for test just six people awaiting results. So why haven’t we seen this reflected in the testing numbers? And when are you going to step up community testing to make use of this extra capacity?
David Ashford 26:56
Yep, so in relation to that, Alex, if we were if we go back over the figures doing on average, just under 200 tests a day when we had the seven day and test in place. Obviously, the seven day test is now being removed. Community surveillance wouldn’t actually at the moment give us much because there is no active COVID community within the community. So what we need to do is more surveillance testing around those coming back, which ties into the answer I gave to Simon a few moments ago. Whereas we look, do we do testing on day 10? Do we do testing on day seven, offer it to people do we do testing on even day 14. And like I say there’s going to be conversations around that over the next couple of weeks. But there is no point just doing general community testing, because that is something you would do in the middle of a pandemic in order to try and trace the route. So that’s why the numbers are low at the moment.
Howard Quayle 27:48
That said, that said before your comment your your next question, Alex, that said, I think we’ve won 1500 tests and circling the last fortnight because we’re testing everyone who’s coming into hospital for procedures. So I don’t want you to think we they’ve just dropped off we are doing and anyone who feels ill and dials 111 and and obviously key workers for health and social care. So we are still doing tests. But it seems a pointless exercise doing say 1000 tests a day when we haven’t bearing the cost when we haven’t got it in the community. So it’s just trying to get the balance, right. But we’re making sure that we have the procedures and the system in place that should there be a downturn in our situation that we can switch flip the switch effectively, and do a significant increased number of testings. So we’re ready for that. But I can’t see. There’s little point in doing 1000 a day. If this is not in the community, we’re doing an off test in the community. And I’m sure we would pick up with the test we’re doing if there was a case in the community at some stage. David, if you wanted to further expand.
David Ashford 28:53
Yeah, the other thing we are doing, which we weren’t doing during the pandemic, due to the limited amount of capacity of testing is where a case emerges, like the chief minister’s just announce the case today, we are automatically sending for test any high risk contacts, so that even if they are not displaying symptoms, and they are still after they’ve been identified as a high risk contact, they will automatically be sent for testing.
Unknown Speaker 29:16
Well, if I can just expand on that, then if somebody is concerned that they might have it, and it would be from a community transmission, which obviously you’re saying there isn’t a community case at the moment, but there are rumours and not everybody believes that. So somebody does think they have symptoms, are you willing to expand the testing that they could self refer right rather than waiting to come into self isolation or anything like that?
David Ashford 29:39
Well, no, I wouldn’t be self referral arcs it would be it’d be based upon the symptoms the person has shown. And testing is a medical process. We did we won’t be setting up a self referral system because unfortunately, you will have people referring themselves time after time after time to be tested. There is some people who I’ve spoken to have been absolutely convinced they’ve got COVID it has turned out they haven’t. It is important that there is that medical triage in terms of testing. But in terms of surveillance, like I say, we will be having conversations around that. But it needs to be done in a measured medical way. And there has to be a medical benefit to actually doing that surveillance.
Howard Quayle 30:18
Yeah. So call if you think you’re in the community, and you might have covid, the option is for you to call 111. Speak to a medic, who will give you advice on whether you need a test or not. So it’s not we’re not saying no, if it’s just ring adopter, don’t just you know, you don’t have the right just to turn up to be tested because you think you might speak to the medics on the official call. So call line
Unknown Speaker 30:40
isn’t the Sorry, it’s based on the whole sort of default position to say isolate for 14 days he wouldn’t be tested and you wouldn’t find out if you had it or not
David Ashford 30:48
know if someone is displaying symptoms, they would be referred for testing.
Howard Quayle 30:55
Okay. Thank you very much, Alex. Okay, we move on to Josh Stokes from ITV Granada now, Josh.
Josh Stokes 31:05
Good afternoon, Chief Minister. I’ve received information suggesting that there are key workers who are working amongst Manx workers without restrictions after self isolating just seven days followed by a test. So firstly, can you confirm that there are some key workers on the island that are able to work alongside max workers without restrictions after seven days in the test?
Howard Quayle 31:24
I’m led to believe in the medical side of things and the department of health and social care. We where we’ve got a consultant may be coming over who has to meet with the public to deal with certain criteria. Yes, I’m not aware of anything else. David, would you like?
David Ashford 31:41
The several kit pathways for key workers, which I think we’ve discussed before, Josh, one of those is seven day and test where people can then do further duties, they’re still restricted duties, I should point out, so there is still social distancing employed, pp employed, but they may obviously have to work with Manx workers. There’s also within the medical side, we do have people that come over for the day, at which point we use a rapid test, which were limited to 16 a day to be able to do that that will give the result within about half an hour to an hour. And that will tell us whether that person is free of the virus and then on a clinically based judgement, that person can go about their work. So there is various key worker pathways there, what they do still have restrictions on those pathways as to what people can do and how they can interact with others.
Josh Stokes 32:33
Putting the medical keywords to one side, can you just explain the decision process being made in which the workers can work under walking restrictions purely on a case by case basis?
David Ashford 32:43
Yes. So it is on a case by case basis, what’s taken into account is the role they’re being brought over for what that role actually consists of who they will be coming into contact with during that role. And from that there is a list of restrictive restrictions placed upon them, as I’ve mentioned, are about PPA, or social distancing being employed, some will potentially be able to access seven day and test again, based on a risk based approach, others will not be able to do so and will either need to isolate. Or if they’re a key worker, that is actually working in isolation in their work environment. So they’re not going to come into contact with all the people, then there’s various different restrictions that may be placed on them as well, where they can go to work, but they have to travel from home to work and then back to their place of isolation immediately afterwards. So this all feeds into the various key workers, but it is based upon the role the person is doing, and the risk mitigation pathway behind that.
Howard Quayle 33:42
Yeah. And the plan is put into play that the plan is agreed before they come to the island to rack up and then we agree a plan, it’s thought through and then various situations fit various models.
David Ashford 33:54
It basically forms part of their of their isolation order.
Josh Stokes 34:00
Is this modification at any published anywhere that people have access to? It’s all in any of the models we’ve spoken on?
David Ashford 34:07
So I’m not I’m not sure I’ll have to check on that if the three pathways are published, but it is not this isn’t something new. This is something that has been in place throughout the entire pandemic period as well.
Howard Quayle 34:17
Yeah, but if it’s not published on our website, I’ll and sure it is Josh, everyone got nothing to hide more than happy for it to be shared.
Josh Stokes 34:26
Thank you My second question. Guernsey has moved into testing at the border and bringing in isolation areas of people travelling from the UK despite many viewing what’s happened with their cases spreading is a setback. They seem to be arguably going for a more progressive approach, moving things forward. Is the government here not being ambitious enough and how open is the government to trialling new methods such
Howard Quayle 34:46
as this? Well, we’re always looking at new ideas. But if you look at jersey who have a test at the border situation, at this moment in time, there are schools shot in Jersey they have 6070 active cases in the Caribbean Unity, and they have social distancing. And you can’t have gatherings over over a certain number. We don’t have any of that. So I’m not convinced that you know, people have been mentioning jersey which goes you have been looking at and and opening their borders. Well, you know, we have an awful lot of freedoms here, but very few people in the rest of the world have. And I think we’re all keen to protect that. I think you also have to look at the infection rate per hundred thousand in the regions that travel from into the Channel Islands compared with the Isle of Man, if you if you look at the Isle of Man, sadly, the Northwest region is significantly high, whereas the southeast so it’s rapidly catching up with the Northwest, the South in Southampton etc, doesn’t have the high levels of an infection rate that the Northwest do. But as I say, sadly, the the South is starting to catch up with the north and there are predictions that the whole of the UK will be locked down. So yeah, where we we look at two other matters. other jurisdictions, if you look at New Zealand, for example, everyone mentions how successful they are. When you go to New Zealand you are put into a quarantine centre. Before you can go back into the community, I’m sure our people coming back wouldn’t want us to be doing that, again, we did it in the luxury of one of our best hotels. Their quarantine centre, I’m told is sort of a one two star establishment was sort of a bed and that’s about it. So, you know, yes, we look at all the systems. But at this moment in time, we’re not seeing any one with a shining light that’s doing significantly better than the model that we’ve got. But if there are any tweaks going forward, then I’ve always said plagiarism is the most sincerest form of flattery and we’d be more than happy to adapt or copy. David, have you anything you want to add? Yeah,
David Ashford 36:50
just around border testing. Josh, you with border testing. Obviously, the test we use as PCR, which is the gold standard test, it’s the best test available. Bought, we do have to recognise that even that form of testing has limitations. I think we’ve had discussions before about the way COVID-19 interacts in the early days of incubation, and the chances of picking it up. If we were to rely solely on border testing, the figures suggest that we would only pick up 7% of infected cases, through border testing, if you would do you would have to do later Testing Day five, day seven, as we were doing or day 10. To pick up day 10 testing, you would expect to get about 98% of cases. So you wouldn’t do border testing just in isolation and say you’ve passed a test at the border, you’re free to go out in the community, because that would be the quickest way of ascending up back with community spread, because we would only be expected to pick up 7% of infected cases from that form of testing. And the other issue. And the issue then is, well, if you’re going to put people say in isolation for seven days, or 10 days until they do a test further on, is there really a point to border testing?
Howard Quayle 38:04
It’s highly complex. As I say, we have Mr. Khan, our consultant microbiologist as part of the group that feeds off information to the Council of Ministers when we’re making these decisions. But we also have to look at a load of other data. How how, for example, is our emergency department coping? How are our intensive care bed numbers looking when we’re looking at all this? And what is your appetite for risk? So one area might say, well, you might be able to do testing and be a little bit more lacks on the border controls. But we’re we’re seeing now hospitals throughout the Northwest closing to elective surgery, for example, because their emergency departments and their intensive care about 95% given the rise of COVID and flu in the community so that there are a significant number of parts of information from different areas that we have to take on board when we make these decisions. It’s not just, you know, you know, a testing regime, what is important is that we have the infrastructure that people qualify the quantity of swabs, etc. So that should we have a situation that suddenly changes. We’re ready for it. And David, anything extra?
David Ashford 39:19
Yeah, just the final point as well is, you know, it’s a balance of between what would it actually give us compared to the cost? So Guernsey, you mentioned there, Josh, I believe the cost to them has been about 4 million for setting up this border testing. But what what will it actually tell us that we don’t already know? Because like I say testing will only pick up about 7% of infected cases if we do it at the borders. And if we are asking people to isolate anyway, it doesn’t really provide us with any more reassurance than we have with people isolating now.
Howard Quayle 39:53
Yeah, I’m just finishing on that, that that that final point that Dave was just raised. If you get resort that tells you you’re negative when you’ve come to the island, you may not be as compliant with the 14 days isolation. If you think, well, I’ve got a friend’s party down the road or a christening coming up, I’ve had a test, it’s fine. It was negative, I’ll go off. Whereas we know that whilst we have the very best test, we’ve believe on in the world that we use on the Isle of Man, it does not pick up people with COVID if they’re not shedding, and therefore you could have a negative test go home, get out spread it in not not intentionally, of course, but because the test has not picked it up. So we have to remember that I’ve always said, we look, I look forward to the day when a test comes out that when you’re tested, it gives you Yes or No, you’ve got COVID-19 we’re not in that situation yet. We use the very best test available, but it still does not tell you definitively in the early days, if you have it. And that’s why I’ve always said that will be a game changer on how we go about everything that we do if that sort of test is developed. And I’m sure it’s been worked on as we speak, but if it comes on on the market, it will make a significant change to everything that we do. Really. We can revisit everything but at the moment. We can’t. Thanks very much, Josh. We’ll move on to all my newspapers and Sam Tatton Good afternoon, Sam faster. My
Unknown Speaker 41:23
estimate, gentlemen, I just want to start with them. In the UK. They’re talking a lot about people know who currently are COVID for so long COVID. This will cheapness just if there’s anything to eat yourself, you’ve been quite healthy. But if there’s anything you’ve noticed, there’s one with you long term. And secondly, especially if you’re free to go to free talks in department. If this is something that has been seen in the community, it’s all
Howard Quayle 41:48
right sound? Well, it’s a very good question, I’m more than happy to share my experience that I personally have lost probably 95% of my taste, and 95% of my smell. It’s I’ve had it now for six months. So it’s been getting gradually worse. So I hope that maybe those cells will repair and come back. But yeah, that’s a long COVID impact. For me personally. Um, David, you want to expand on the the other question?
David Ashford 42:18
Yeah, so in relation to what’s been termed long COVID. And yes, we are seeing some evidence of that, thankfully, not at the critical side of things. But in the more low level, as the chief minister’s described around, taste and smell, some people who still remain breathless. But we know from wider studies around the world, people who have kept COVID, who have been perfectly healthy, even healthy young individuals have been seriously damaged by it. COVID-19 has this sort of preference for attacking the lungs. And we know that there’s cases emerging of long term lung scarring, which has a massive impact, also what’s been referred to as sticky blood syndrome, where it’s been thickening of the blood. Thankfully, we haven’t seen as far as I’m aware of any evidence of that on Ireland, it’s been more the low level symptoms. But again, you know, we need to engage with people and try and help them. But it is worrying. And this is another reason why it’s important, we try and protect against COVID-19. Because even if you are young and healthy, there’s no guarantee once you’ve had that you are not going to have long term effects as a result.
Unknown Speaker 43:24
Thank you. And just Secondly, you indulge me slightly, I want to come back to July, when the governor results on COVID-19 antibody testing was published, and how far we’ve gone since then. And all the full results of bastoni available anywhere.
David Ashford 43:41
Yeah, so the preliminary results are basically going to be the full results for now. Because we know now that antibodies for COVID-19 only really stick around for about three months. So we were planning to do a second phase of antibody testing rounds, running up to I think about around about now actually in November. But there was no point undertaking that because our pandemic period was over, obviously, at the July period, and after that, because of the way that we now know COVID-19 antibodies dissipate within the body. It wouldn’t have actually told us any more. So the interim report, certainly for now is the final report. Okay,
Howard Quayle 44:21
thanks very much, Sam. And last but not least Alex Bell from BBC Isle of Man. Good afternoon, Alex festa. My
Unknown Speaker 44:28
Hello, good afternoon. I’m intrigued by the the brief reference you made there to a rapid test which has been offered to key workers and why are we not ramping the capacity for these or
David Ashford 44:39
simply because worldwide, they’ve actioned governments around the world can only access these tests based on their percentage of population. So for instance, we’re there cartridge based and we are allowances 16 cartridges a day I believe. That is that is it. We cannot source anywhere else. The manufacturers have ration of all governments around the world, so it’s not your stores, all countries are in the same position. It’s a rapid PCR test
Howard Quayle 45:07
is another case where you can only do so many with the machines anyway. Yeah,
David Ashford 45:10
and and the and the other issue with it, Alex is you can only do one so one at a time. So whereas with normal rare PCR testing, and probably going to use completely on science, the scientific term now and say you can cluster tests together and run them with this particular one, it’s one test at a time. So basically, if you did 16 a day, that’s 16 hours of test. Okay, thank
Unknown Speaker 45:35
you. And I’m sorry to leave you with a bit of a conundrum. And I’ve had a question from a viewer. And this person is in rented shared accommodation, where residents have their own rooms, but they share facilities like a kitchen, so they share also milk. And for example, this person is also in a kind of public facing profession where they deal with lots of different members of the public. As such, this person’s employer says that they cannot come to work, if they’re in a household with someone who’s self isolating, now that they live with a person who has begun self isolation. So what’s your advice to others who might find themselves in this rather difficult position where they can’t work, if someone in their household is self isolating?
David Ashford 46:23
And in relation to that, Alex, though, you know, there is no legal bar on them going to work. Because Because under the rules as long as the person is self isolated away, and shared areas are cleaned down after every use, as it currently stands, the rest of the household can go about their business and into both obviously, different employers have their own internal policies. And in this case, the employer whoever it may be has obviously clearly assessed the role the person is doing and feels that it is too much of a risk for them to go to work. So that is that that is the choice of the employer. Okay,
Howard Quayle 47:00
well, thank you. Thanks very much, Alex, I’m Thank you all very much for your questions. Now, the tentacles of the coronavirus pandemic are indeed reaching into all aspects of normal life. But I can confirm one thing that will stay the same peel commissioners firework display will go ahead as normal from the breakwater tonight, and the organisers have worked around the new security measures there. It seems appeal is the place to be some of the roads will be closed for a parade and local events before fires are lit on the beach and the display begins. If you’re going to enjoy the evening and have a happy hop chinae to everyone. We are lucky that we can celebrate these festivals with family and friends in the usual way. There is no rule of six and we are free to visit our neighbours. Our mantra for the pandemic is very apt for the weekend ahead. Please stay safe, be responsible and make the right decisions for yourself and your loved ones. Have a great weekend everyone. Thank you for your attendance and interest and see you next week. Thank you