This is a very rough and unverified transcript of the Isle of Man Government’s Coronavirus Media Briefing held on Friday 12 March 2021. In particular, for any legal guidance, you should seek advice from official sources.
You should not rely heavily upon it — it is transcribed by an automated speech recognition service, and I cannot guarantee its accuracy. Any local Manx words (especially in Gaelic) are more likely to be inaccurate. Also, the automated speech recognition service often converts proper nouns incorrectly (especially the spoken words “Isle of Man” to “Ireland” or “all of man”).
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.
I obviously do not own the copyright in the underlying words (eg, whatever has been said by the speakers) and I am providing these transcripts because they are of self-evident public interest. I think that I do own the copyright in the adaption/conversion into written text. I’m happy to license these transcripts publicly under a free and very open Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.
Howard Quayle 0:00
Good afternoon, everyone. And thank you for joining us today. He with me at the podium is the minister of health and social care. And on zoom, we have the Director of Public Health. This morning we learned the sad news that a number another member of our island community, a patient at Nobles Hospital had lost their life to COVID-19. My heart goes out to the family and loved ones at this difficult time. And I extend my sincerest condolences. My thoughts on those I’m sure of our whole community are with you. I hope that this offers some small comfort against the sense of loss of what I am sharing is a moment of profound sadness and grief. It is an unhappy fact that around the world lives are lost to COVID every day in their 1000s. It is something that has tragically become a normal part of our existence this past year, something we have almost become numb to. And whilst we have not shielded from the effects of the virus, we have now tragically lost 26 people to COVID-19 here in the Isle of Man, I think we have all at times felt as though we are in some ways detached from its ravages. We have eliminated COVID-19 on two occasions, and enjoyed several months of near normality. This has perhaps made the pandemic feel as though it was something far away something outside of our Manx bubble. Today, we have a painful reminder that despite all of our collective efforts, we cannot completely shield our island from this disease, that this virus can be lethal. And that we must take seriously the measures in place to prevent the viruses spread in order to bring the current outbreak under control. I know you want to say a few words on the sad development, David, and that you also want to provide an update on the latest numbers. Dave,
David Ashford 2:00
thank you, Chief Minister. It’s tragic enough at any time when our close knit community loses someone from within us sports, particularly at this current time with this virus. It’s I think it’s all we’ve lost yet another member of our community. And we must always remember that behind the statistics that myself and the Chief Minister give his people and families and friends of individuals, there is a family who has lost a loved one. And there are friends who have lost a very close friend to them. And we must never forget that we are limited in the information that we will be able to give in relation to this case, as we have been with all of the deaths that have been tragically reported over the period, because we still have to respect patient confidentiality, and also respect the needs and wishes of the family as well. And I hope people will respect that. Turning to today’s figures, the total tests undertaken stands at 38,778. The total tests concluded is 38,776. That means there were two awaiting results. And as was discussed at the last briefing, that means two tests to be processed with a result from the lab. The total new cases identified in the last 24 hour period is 66. That means our total case number rises to 1157 with 704 active cases, and there remains 12 cases within the hospital. Thank you, Chief Minister.
Howard Quayle 3:37
Thank you, David. A similar level of new cases to yesterday and around half the number of new cases we saw at the start of the week. As I said yesterday, it appears the measures we have in place are having an effect. This is thanks to everyone in our community following the rules, please keep it up. It is so important that we minimise contact between people. Please stay at home as much as possible. It is the most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from catching COVID and to break the chains of transmission. In relation to new cases, you will likely have heard that some crew members aboard the Ben my Cree have been instructed to self isolate. This led to today’s sailing of the band having to be cancelled. They will resume tomorrow when a new crew is rostered. The steam packet have contingency measures in place for these situations. The MV Arrow made its way to the island earlier today and will handle handle overnight freight between the island and Haitian our freight will continue to flow and the island remains well supplied. Although today is tinged with sadness, I do have some positive news to share with you. Earlier today we passed the threshold of having administered 30,000 doses of COVID vaccine The team have worked flat out all week doing a remarkable job administering 1000s of doses. And my thanks once again to everyone involved for all that you are doing for our island. David, would you like to talk a little bit more about that place?
David Ashford 5:15
Yes, thank you, Chief Minister. In relation to the vaccine programme, we have now past the 30,000 milestone I alluded to at yesterday’s briefing, the total vaccines delivered at the snapshot as I came into this briefing is 30,670 672, with 19,888 of those being first doses, and 10,782 of those second doses, and there are a couple of doses still to be allocated as people will see if they as to which they were if people see if the from the figures. One of the great milestones around this is that it means we are moving swiftly through our vaccination categories. And those in the vulnerable groups are the clinically vulnerable group aged 16 to 64. The letters have now started going out. And so people will now be able to go online and register if they fall within that group. Also, I know it’s come up as a query when people register about the time 111 takes two ring back. Please don’t worry if 111 isn’t immediately in touch, they are exceptionally busy at the moment. And just to give an idea of this, this latest cohort of letters going out is 7000 letters. So that means that they will be in exceptional demand on the service. The booking team will get back to you. It may take a bit longer than usual, but it will not stall your appointment because we do start booking in advance and you will get a call back with an appointment as soon as possible. We also have the Ramsey pop up clinic again this weekend. For those who are booked in to that clinic. Please can I emphasise that you do not go in via the main Ramsay cottage hospital entrance, you follow the signage to the clinic, which is to the left of Martin Ward and PPA will be provided at the clinic itself. Can I also just make the point that for those who have had the vaccine, can you please still be cautious particularly when you’re out and about? We know from studies that would be done on the vaccine, the vaccine takes time to build. It’s not immediate immediately after you’ve had your vaccine. So I would urge anyone at this time who has been vaccinated, that they still should follow the precautions that they were following previously. And equally, those who have been asked to shield we do still ask them to shield whether or not they have been vaccinated at this time. We have to remember that as a community, our best defences against this disease are the same as they’ve always been. And that’s been the use of masks where appropriate hand hygiene and also ensuring ventilated space as wherever possible. Thank you, Chief Minister.
Howard Quayle 7:51
And thank you very much David. Some more good news I would like to share today is that we are launching our new COVID-19 dashboard, we have been publishing open data relating to COVID-19. For some time, however, we recognise the need to provide a daily overview for the public. The new dashboard provides a snapshot of current cases for public information and interest. These are broken down to show whether they have been acquired that they’ve been quite locally or from travel, as well as the age gender profiles and location of active cases. It also shows information on rolling averages and provide an overview of our testing programme. The dashboard is updated automatically using data from contact tracing and the one on one teams. Initially it will be updated once a day at three o’clock. But with a view to this becoming more frequent in the future. This is very much version one. And as with our vaccination dashboard, we would welcome your feedback, you can view the email@example.com forward slash COVID-19 in the latest update section. One final point I want to cover today is support for those who are self isolating in obtaining essential services such as groceries and medicine. I know that can be real challenges here, but help is at hand. St John’s ambulance has reactivated its prescription delivery service working in partnership with our community pharmacists, and the pharmacy at nobles hospital. anyone in need of this service can arrange it through their local pharmacy. for food local retailers and producers continue to show resilience and adaptability. Dozens of businesses are offering delivery services for produce and prepared meals. Full details are firstname.lastname@example.org comm forward slash COVID-19. before handing over to the media, I know that in the past you have been exemplary in approaching questions following the loss of life. sensitivity and compassion. We must all remember that there are people in our community today grieving, and that there will be details to which myself and Minister Ashford are quite rightly not privy, and which family members may wish to keep private. So with that first we have today is Paul Moulton from Isle of Man television. Good afternoon, Paul, faster my.
Paul Moulton 10:24
And I’ll do I take on board exactly what you just said that. But the information I suppose people are looking for was the underlying health issues, had the person been vaccinated? and that sort of thing? Is anything more you can tell us? Health Minister?
David Ashford 10:39
Yeah, Paul, what I can say is in terms of age, all I can confirm as they were in the older age groups, I can’t confirm in relation to underlying health conditions, because I don’t have that information myself. And again, in vaccination status, we would not know that, because that forms part of their personal medical record. So we will never know with any points whether someone has been vaccinated or not. And we can’t share those details because they form part of their personal medical history as well. So I know that’s not probably not very helpful, or bought, the only thing I can confirm at this time is age wise, they were in the older age groups.
Paul Moulton 11:19
And just on that how the ventilator is doing are you under pressure is there you see a big rise in people now, in their
David Ashford 11:26
note there is there is still only one person that is in ICU. It’s bit like we discussed last year, but again, it’s been a long time. So it’s worth discussing, again, there is very few patients even when they are hospitalised with COVID-19, that will actually require ventilation. Many require simply oxygen therapy, which is very, very different. In relation to ventilators, we have no issue at all. And there is currently one patient in ICU.
Paul Moulton 11:52
Among some questions about the same packet, they say the protocols are being followed. So what has gone wrong. But back to this again, that something has gone wrong, but no one knows what is going wrong. And that comes back to protocols being adhered to anyone shed any more light on what has happened?
Howard Quayle 12:08
Well, that’s why Paul, I’ve asked for a review of what has happened so that we can say I’m happy to share the the protocols in forming that review. And once the review, we have the review telling us what’s happened, then I’m more than happy to publish it obviously bar any personal data that it discusses. So we just don’t know at that this moment in time, you’re quite right, something has gone wrong. We need to find out what so that if we need to make changes to put in place procedures to stop that from happening here again, then we do so but we will obviously published that when it’s when we’ve got the report and officer has been appointed to do the report. And they will start taking evidence, I’m sure on Monday.
Paul Moulton 12:53
And we’ll do maybe ask Miss Woodward to come to one of these press briefings so that we have a chance to put questions on behalf of the public to him.
Howard Quayle 13:00
Well, now that these press briefings are our government press briefings Mr. Woodward is the the head of a private company but I’m sure the report will have the report and we’ll obviously be wanting to discuss with the steam packet, the details to get the details from them as to what measures they have in place. But as the Let’s wait and see what the report, the review gives us and then we will know hopefully what what has gone wrong and what changes were able to make. Thanks, Paul. Okay, next we have Josh Stokes from ITV. Granada. Good afternoon, Josh foster my Good
Josh Stokes 13:34
afternoon, Chief Minister. Now this is terribly sad news, particularly after so long without a death in the community. Emotions are running high around the island today. It is of course being described as tragic. But there’s also been suggested as an avoidable situation by many now that we’ve all been reminded the seriousness of this situation, how do you respond to people calling for more responsibility from the government? It’s not a blame game. It’s not a witch hunt. But people have been asking more responsibility and some empathy towards the public that’s put their lives on hold once again. What do you say to those people that have been saying that today? Well, of course, everyone’s
Howard Quayle 14:05
upset that we’ve lost another member of society we’ve lost 25 before because we we’ve had problems with the vaccine with time with the vaccine, with the virus getting to the island. That’s most regrettable we put in place in place procedures to try and stop that from happening. But these procedures are not 100% perfect, unless we totally close our borders. Unless we totally close our borders. We may see this happen again until everyone is vaccinated and unprotected. But you know, we can start seeing the blame game. The government acted quickly to do its best to protect the island. Sadly, there’s been a breakdown in the ANR defences the virus has got back onto the island, and we need to ensure that we get it kicked off the island as quickly as possible until we have our people vaccinated so that we can protect Everyone, I don’t know, Minister Ashford if you want to comment,
David Ashford 15:02
yeah, if I could, Chief Minister, this is an exceptionally worrying time for our community. Josh, there will be a lot of nervous people out there a lot of people concerned, particularly in the vulnerable groups in society. And this news today will have come as a body blow to many, and increase the concern amongst those groups. I, we as an island, we have always, as a community pulled together at times like this. And I think this is another one of those times where we need to be stronger, we need to pull together, you know, in terms of were things avoidable, we won’t, you know, you can never answer that question. Because you can never actually pull out the scenarios of what would have happened if something different had been done. We are dealing with an invisible enemy in this virus, we’ve made clear, we can always put measures in place, but there is no measure that is 100%. Certain, we always have to do things on the balance of risk. And that’s exactly what has happened throughout. It’s been made clear over the last 12 months, that there was always the opportunity for the virus to sneak back in. And that is exactly what has happened, we will not you have nothing you can do will ever be watertight again, sir. So yeah, we do have to accept that this is a sad time for our community with the announcement that had to be made today, a very worrying time for a lot of people out there. And what we need to do is reinforce the fact that if we stick to the measures that are in place, if we actually stick to obeying the rules that are in place, that as a community as a whole, we can free ourselves yet again, of this dreadful virus and limit the potential for any further issues. But we do that as a community as a whole. And again, it shows and I think reinforces the message of why although many of the restrictions we have in place are so difficult for so many. It’s also shows why they are so necessary to protect so many as well.
Unknown Speaker 16:52
Thank you for that. And my second question is in relation to the exit strategy document gains yesterday released their exit strategy, suggesting orders could fully open up as early as July with no isolation requirement, whereas our document isn’t so forthcoming with a date that early. Do you think the Isle of Man can make that sort of commitment or a guarantee just being too optimistic here in your mind?
Howard Quayle 17:12
Well, thanks, Josh, as I understand our friends in Guernsey have today published them what it’s called moving forward blueprint. And it seems much of the focus on the document is still on the reopening of existing facilities on their board, as I understand it is at the earliest July and of course, it could be later. So we’ve said what we currently think that and it could be earlier to in our situation, it depends on the getting the vaccines that we presume are getting and the delivery dates, and also the situation in the UK and further afield on the infection rates. So I think we all need to keep a picture, you know, an eye on the whole picture. And I said we’ll review it regularly. And if we can bring ours forward fine. If it if it goes back then you know that would be a problem. But Guernsey have come up with a date. But they’ve if they have said it that might be the at the absolute earliest? I don’t know, David, if there’s anything you’d like to add?
David Ashford 18:04
Yes, if I may, Chief Minister, it’s very easy. And as someone who used to work in project management, it becomes very simple to fixate yourselves on dates. And I think what’s important is we don’t there’ll be countries around the world will have various documents, various strategies, some with dates, and some not with dates, some will be earlier date, some will be later. The UK document, for instance, has dates in what says that is the earliest date, what were what matters is the detail within there, and the transition phases as to how we get back to normal. And that’s what people should be focused on, rather than the dates. If things go exceptionally well, then things may happen earlier. If things don’t go as well, they may happen slightly later. So what people should be focusing on is where we are on that journey, not necessarily the time we get to that journey. Because I think that’s what’s important because it’s that roadmap of people seeing where they are in that journey that will actually give them an idea of where we are going.
Howard Quayle 19:04
Thanks very much, Josh. Thank
Unknown Speaker 19:05
Howard Quayle 19:06
Now we move on to Richard bought from all of my newspapers. Good afternoon, Richard faster, my soI. Mr. quayle.
Richard Butt 19:12
This question is probably for Dr. Hewitt. Actually, I wonder, do we have an R number for the Isle of Man now?
Henrietta Ewart 19:19
No, we don’t never have attempted to calculate an R number. The main reason for that is that our numbers for small populations are just totally unreliable and would change significantly in response to very small fluctuations in numbers of cases. So in fact, you may be aware that in fact, local areas or regions across don’t calculate are it’s only calculated at a national level. But then data is reported on whether levels are going up or down or staying stable in regions. So that’s the reason we don’t we don’t calculator. Thank you.
Richard Butt 19:57
How do we get that sort of information? That is is the place to get from the honourable what sort of equivalent information do we get to get that sort of knowledge?
Henrietta Ewart 20:07
Well, that’s quite straightforward, because our basically just gives you a measure of whether an outbreak or level of infection is rising, falling, or staying level. And actually, we get that from our outbreak curves. And that will be part of the dashboard that is being published. So you’ll be able to see that actually in a way, which is much more informative than trying to calculate an R, which is going to change every time the numbers change, and doesn’t really get a picture in quite such a good ways the curve will.
Unknown Speaker 20:39
Thank you. Thank you.
Howard Quayle 20:41
Thanks very much, Richard. Now we move on to rob Hang on a second question. Oh,
Richard Butt 20:48
no, no. Never have to was a good thing. Yeah, just interest, the vaccine issue. Good news, we’ve got so many done as we’re going down the age profile. And it seems that younger people who don’t have as many health problems, especially people who’ve used the Isle of Man, etc. Won’t be don’t have a GP because they’ve never actually had to go to a doctor, especially people maybe who’s English, having this as a first language is any work being done on that to get that information out to those people to actually get them to beat you up. Because if we could have a significant number of people who just don’t get the jobs because they aren’t on the list?
Howard Quayle 21:25
Yeah, it’s good question. Regina asked David Johnson for
David Ashford 21:28
Yeah, I’ll take that one. If I may, Richard, in relation to that. It’s a very, very good point. Because, you know, as we go down the cohorts things change. And we have already been looking at the younger cohorts. And one of the things so for instance, university students may not even be on Island at the point that their age group is current is called up. So they will have the ability to have either their first vaccination in the UK. And then if they’re on Ireland have the second one here, because they’ll be able to use a card to show they’ve been vaccinated, or vice versa, in relation to other cohorts or young people. One of the things we’ve changed is that previously early on in the vaccination programme, you have to be registered as a full time resident, with a GP, in order to be vaccinated, I had the team Look at this, and now you can be registered temporarily. So as we go down the cohorts, we will be using social media and campaigns to get the message out there, that they still still apply to them that they still should get the vaccine. And they will have the ability via their GP surgery to register as a temporary patient if they so wish. But to be perfectly honest, I would urge people who are on the island full time to be registered with a GP anyway. Because from a health point of view, it’s always wise for them to do so. So it may be able that we can actually do two things at once, do a drive with the young people who aren’t registered with a GP to get them to be so and also the vaccination at the same time. But we already looking at that across the different age cohorts and how the messaging will need to change with the younger cohorts as well. Okay,
Howard Quayle 22:59
thank you very much, Richard. Now we move on to rob Pritchard from three FM Good afternoon, Rob faster. My
Rob Pritchard (3FM) 23:07
customer Chief Minister, of course, very sad news this morning regarding another fatality down to Coronavirus. I just wondered for clarity. Are there any services available to people specifically who have suffered a bereavement
Unknown Speaker 23:18
in the family or from a close friend as a result of COVID-19?
Howard Quayle 23:22
Okay, David, you want to take that one, please?
David Ashford 23:24
Yeah, there is not specific service as well. But we have a wide range of services available on Ireland, including counselling services, if there’s mental health issues, access to those services, the people can access. And I would urge people to use those services if they feel the need to do so. It is a very tragic time when it when there is a death, as I say normal circumstances, but particularly at this time, and particularly with the restrictions our communities having to live under at the moment. They’re not only heightens at all we do have services available. And I would urge anyone, not just those who have suffered a bereavement, but anyone who was struggling out there in the community to make contact and access those services if they need them.
Rob Pritchard (3FM) 24:08
Okay, thank you. Second question. On a different note, you may have been aware that
Unknown Speaker 24:13
yesterday there was news about EasyJet have been announcing schedules for Ireland flights from as early as May this year.
Rob Pritchard (3FM) 24:20
But there are no current border changes planned here on islands. How aware of this situation are you and what are your views on that?
Howard Quayle 24:28
Well, I haven’t had any personal negotiations with EasyJet, I would have expect dry, or our department for enterprise to have a discussion with them. But we have said that by the end of April subject to getting all the vaccines that we’ve been promised that we hope to be able to look at making changes to allow family and friends to visit people on the island. So maybe they’ve looked at that I’m thankful that they’re gonna take that opportunity going forward. I certainly don’t think we’ll be open opening our entire borders in May But as I say, I sincerely hope that we can allow family and friends to come and visit out that day because we hope to have had given a first vaccine to all of our vulnerable groups. I don’t know, David, if you’ve got anything to add to that.
David Ashford 25:13
Yeah, if I could just say briefly, Chief Minister, say, Rob, that obviously airlines have to try and work their schedules out in advance. You may remember we had the same situation over the summer last year, where, where there was schedules announced and people said, What was that? Did that mean that was going to be border changes? We don’t decide our border changes based on airline routes. We decided our border changes on what protects the island and what we need to have in place at any given time. EasyJet may well be exploring what they can potentially do. But certainly, as far as I’m aware, there’s been no discussions around that. And like I say the border restrictions will depend upon the situation in place, and any airlines operating have to comply with those border restrictions.
Howard Quayle 25:56
Thank you very much, Rob. Next, we move on to Tim Glover from Manx radio. Good afternoon, Tim faster, my
Rob Pritchard (3FM) 26:03
fast faster my and firstly deepest condolences to the family and friends of the person who’s passed away from all of Manx radio. I’m sure I speak for everyone who attends some of the organisations that attend this briefing as well. Can I just ask on the figures now for the numbers in self isolation? And is there any news on when key workers who are desperate obviously to get back to work, some are providing medical services will be able to utilise a school hub?
Howard Quayle 26:34
Right? Well? Well, first and foremost, I think between now and on Monday, there’s this circle of 1000, people will be coming out of lockdown, who’ve gone through the period of isolation, Tim, and regarding school hubs, I think the most important as much as we want to open them up straight away. The most important thing is protecting our young people. And whilst and obviously the teachers and the support staff that look after them. And whilst we have still have such a high percentage of infection amongst our young people, we just do not think now is the right time to be sending young people back to the hub. So I cannot see the hubs opening for next week. It’s something we bitterly regret. But when you see the infections amongst our young people, if we open a hub and we send, say 50 to 100 of our young people to that one homeschool, even if we do tests, it’s only a snapshot. If that then spread amongst the rest of the children, we would have maybe 50 to 100 families, where of our key workers shut down straight away because of that problem. So I’m sure that once we see the reduction in the number of infected cases in our young people, then we can, as quickly as possible open up our hubs we have a number of of teachers who volunteered to work in hubs and our nursery care provision too. But sadly, at this moment in time, we just don’t feel it’s the right time to open them up. I know, David, if you’d like if you have anything further to add?
David Ashford 28:04
Yeah, I’ll take on both of the points that Tim has made. And then I’ll bring the Director of Public Health in, in relation to hope schools, Tim, I think we’ve got to be very careful of again, as this law of unintended consequences, I keep talking about that we don’t do something that then induces a secondary spike in terms of the child infection, because as we’ve seen when it comes to children, because they’re going back to whole households, it can spread very, very quickly. So I know it’s exceptionally hard for a lot of parents at the moment, I’ve been in personal touch with an awful lot who’ve got in touch with me. But we have managed here on Ireland to keep an education system running a lot longer, and a lot more in depth. And a lot of other jurisdictions, including the UK, where schools, we have very good period where schools are operating as normal, it is going to be a stressful time, particularly for those who are trying to work from home and have young children as well. Because let’s be honest, the two don’t particularly mix. But we do ask them to bear with us. Because if we were to open up the home schools too early, we were to bring children into that environment and then cause infection, as the chief minister said, it could spread very, very quickly. And we could actually end up in an even worse situation than we are at the moment. So we just need to be careful. We don’t do anything that could actually exasperate that. You asked about self isolation. On the figures, I have the total number and self isolation at the moment is 3554. That consists of 1720 direct contacts in isolation. And there’s also 174 travellers in self isolation as well. So they’re, they’re the figures that I have those figures of course, the two figures I gave there about travellers and their contacts are contained within the 3554 and I’ll bring the Director of Public Health and if she’s got anything to add,
Henrietta Ewart 29:53
I don’t really on the point about education and hubs of course, this is a virus that spreads by mix So if we mix people up the risk is, you know, you’ve only got to have one who’s infected and they passed it to the others. And they can then disperse it back into their households and, and onwards from there. So that’s one reason for being very cautious about bringing together any disparate group into one centre, as in a harp. But there are other ways of trying to disperse the care. And that’s being worked upon by our colleagues in the Department for Education. Thank you.
Rob Pritchard (3FM) 30:32
And Chief Minister system terms were just touched on. There are some people today on social media this afternoon, so made a wonderful inquiry into the steam packet situation, but equally, many asking for a full inquiry to happen. Surely, you’d agree that the whole purpose of any inquiries to apportion blame or have a witch hunts but would be to ensure that systems are fit for purpose and work?
Howard Quayle 30:58
Absolutely, Tim, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re having a full review of the systems that are in place the procedures we put in place to mitigate the risk of obviously having to have a UK crew working with a man’s crew on board the ship, all these things are being looked at to see what can we do to improve the situation? What legislative changes have any that we need to make, we will then report back show the report Tim old and and to the public, it’s not going to be hidden or anything like that. However, it may well be that timbal members decide that they want to carry out their own review through the Public Accounts Committee. that’s entirely up to Tim will members and I’ll respect that decision. But I’m not waiting for that to happen. I want to review so that we can learn as quickly as possible to protect the island to the best of our abilities. Thanks, Tim.
Unknown Speaker 31:49
Howard Quayle 31:50
Okay, next we have Alex Bell from BBC Isle of Man. Good afternoon, Alex faster. My
Unknown Speaker 31:55
Good afternoon. Thank
Alex Bell 31:56
you and to your knowledge, or any of the patients Korean lien nobles hospital, people who have received either dose of the vaccine. Right.
Howard Quayle 32:06
I don’t think I can comment on that, because we wouldn’t put it as the health minister said before someone having a vaccine, that is their personal patient record is not a record that I or David or even doctor, you would get to see it. It’s your personal details. So unless those people are prepared to share it, we certainly can’t I don’t know, David, if there’s anything further to
David Ashford 32:26
say that we will we will never know in that Alex, it’s part of their personal patient record. So that sort of information cannot be collated without that individual patient’s consent. So we will never have a situation where we’ll be able to say we’ve got X number of patients in hospital and excellent for patients that have had the vaccine, that’s not something we will either be able to collate, or actually share.
Unknown Speaker 32:49
Do we have age profiles for the people in hospital?
David Ashford 32:52
We don’t again, it forms part of their patient record. And my advice I’ve received throughout this pandemic period is that cannot be shared. Okay, thank you very well, what I what I can say is it’s across a multitude of age groups. Okay,
Alex Bell 33:06
thank you. And just to revisit a point which has been raised this conference, the Channel Islands have published their exit plans this week, in July now being given as a date for Jersey, for example, to drop all its border restrictions, given that this will potentially give jersey a competitive advantage as a channel Island and bring in tourists over will the government be looking to compensate tourism providers here until September?
Howard Quayle 33:36
Well, well, first and foremost jersey have been open for quite a while Alex, they haven’t had many tourists going to visit them. They then tightened up their borders when they they had a serious outbreak on the island. Yes, of course, we accept that for a number of months going forward, the only business that’s going to be happening for our self catering, and hotels, etc. will be maybe staycations and people isolating that have had to isolate as a result of travel through either health reasons, or personal reasons coming to the Ireland key workers etc. So other than that business, there’s not from any tourism business and obviously the Department for enterprise are working with their tourist sector to ensure that they can come up with the levels of support needed to keep our business enable our businesses to continue until the tourism sector can open up again. Thanks very much, Alex. Right, next we have Simon Richardson from business 365 Good afternoon, Simon faster. My
Simon Richardson 34:44
good afternoon Chief Minister. Obviously the death of one of us in hospital from COVID as a reminder, just how dreadful the virus can be and kayako Tim’s sentiment and our sympathies to the family of the person concerned. We’re now well into this lockdown from the latest reports you have received from sources, including the police, are people still adhering to the rules as rigorously as in previous lockdowns? Would you say?
Howard Quayle 35:09
Well, I had a meeting of Council of Ministers this morning. And we didn’t have any reports in that meeting that there had been a significant or or any outbreak cases will have people not following the rules. Obviously, there will always be some people who think they’re above that. And the police will do their best to try and get them to behave. But equally if they don’t we know what the outcome will be. But hopefully, people are taking this seriously. We’ve got a series of advertisements and press releases from all of your media’s mediums, advertising. The fact that this is the ken variant is far more infectious, and the best thing to do is to stay at home. So hopefully that message is getting out there. The vast, vast majority of the great Manx public, I’ve never let us down. And we hope that that small number will see sense and and follow the rules.
Simon Richardson 36:02
Thank you. And for the health minister. We’re currently using the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. And it’s good to see here today that we’ve passed the 30,000 mark, is it expected We’ll soon be adding madana vaccine to our vaccination programme.
David Ashford 36:16
So the Medina pro vaccine, I would expect will be added we will get supplies in line with our deal with the UK. So we will receive 0.13% of their supplies. With madona, the UK doesn’t start getting their supplies until the spring. So that would be the same with us. And obviously, they need to make sure that all the regulatory approvals and everything are in place. And before we do so, but we will be expecting and equally any other vaccines that may eventually get regulatory approval, we would receive them as part of our deal with the UK on a per head of population basis, which is the 0.1313%.
Simon Richardson 36:53
Thank you. Just as a point of clarification, when a new cohort of people become eligible for the vaccine, are they called up alphabetically, which would obviously mean that some may have to wait a little bit longer.
David Ashford 37:04
No, the letters go out in batches. So they said it’s not it’s not done necessarily alphabetically, but the letters go out in batches, by GP surgery, generally, because we’re grouped into primary care areas. When people get the letter, then they can register at that point, that doesn’t mean they have any form of competitive advantage, because their appointments will be slightly further down. I checked again with the team this morning. And they do actually prioritise according to which age cohort people are in. So for instance, anyone who’s over 80s, who actually may not have taken up the appointment for the vaccine yet, if they were to take it up today, where there is a slot for an appointment. They will be prioritised in that way. Thank you.
Howard Quayle 37:49
Thanks very much, Simon. And last but not least, we have Sam Turton from Jeff. Good afternoon, Sam faster, my
Sam Turton 37:57
chief minister just on testing for measure Ashford, actually, there’s been a few comments made to say about testing involving them a Hague students, which I believe you’ve also been made aware of by parents. And can you update on what has gone on for situation, please, and just stay on?
Unknown Speaker 38:15
Sam Turton 38:16
people said to us, the tests have been done definitely between the first and second, and you stick was going here? Please try and explain it for people because it’s a bit confusing, even for me if I’m honest.
David Ashford 38:24
Yeah, well, there’s a couple of people, I’ve had come touch points with a couple of people this morning, who said when their child was first tested, the swab was done around the inside of the mouth, and then only partway up the nose. And then the second time has been more invasive, where it’s gone right up into the cavity and down the back of the throat. I can’t comment on that somebody, I don’t know the details behind us. This is just what some people are fed back to me. I fed it up the chain into infection control within the department for them to investigate and look at it and see if there’s anything that needs to be done in that regard. But I can’t comment further, because I don’t know I can only go off what people have told me.
Sam Turton 39:03
Thank you. And secondly, in terms of vaccinations of mess chief was saying they’ve had friends of theirs who are younger than them and have not got any health concerns. I’ve already had letters from their GP saying that they are in line for vaccine. And then when they’ve contacted 111, they’ve been told this has been sent out an error, how aware you are of the situation across the service and what has been done to check that people are getting letters in the right order?
David Ashford 39:28
Well, in terms of the age cohorts, it’s quite simple because it’s based on date of birth. So as long as the date of birth is correct on the system, then for your age cohorts will be generated in terms of those with underlying health conditions. And in the clinically vulnerable categories. were relying on the GPS less because we need the GPS to confirm which of their patients actually has an underlying condition and whether that puts them into priority for priority six. That is a very manual process. It’s very work intensive process and I like Put on record again, my thanks to the GPS for engaging with us and helping us build those lists. I would imagine when you’re talking so for instance, this group I’ve just announced today where the letters have now started going out, which is those with underlying health conditions, that group is 7000 odd Sam. So out of 7000, I would expect that the potentially will be the odd however, it sounds like 111 has picked up on us because there is a process of reconciliation when you go to book your appointments, where one goes back and checks the details. So I would expect any errors to be caught up in that process. But in terms of the age cohorts they have done based on date of birth. So there shouldn’t be any errors there unless the wrong date of birth is on the person’s medical records. But the vulnerable categories, that has been a difficult process, and I know the UK has found it an exceptionally difficult process as well.
Howard Quayle 40:51
Thanks very much salmon. And it’s fair to point that no system we put in place is going to be perfect. But as the Health Minister has just said, we pay credit and tribute to the hard working teams that are doing their best to a give the vaccinations and be compiled the list and put the letters out. As I say, this is the biggest immunisation project the world has ever known. And sadly, from time to time, the odd era will will creep in. But I think the fact that we’ve managed to do 30,000 and oh, and plus now, in such a short period of time shows that on the whole, it’s a pretty good system, but we’re always learning and trying to improve the situation all the time. So thank you all very much for your questions. As we approach the weekend with longer days and nicer weather, it is understandable to be want to be at that we want to be out about more. But I must ask you to continue doing everything you can to bring this outbreak under control. Please stay at home as much as possible. In doing so you are helping to protect not just our health service, our vaccination programme, and other essential services. But most importantly, you are helping to protect lives, perhaps even your own. Now, I know it’s mothering Sunday, this weekend, and for those of us lucky enough to still have our mums weathers please don’t visit them. A phone call teams, etc. has to be what we can do this weekend. It’s It’s sad. I know. We want to say our moms but but please refrain from going and visiting. You’re doing everyone the whole island of favour. So this weekend, please be responsible and do what is right for you, those you love and our island community. Please stay at home. Thank you all very much.