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This is an unofficial and unverified transcript

This is a very rough and unverified transcript of the Isle of Man Government’s Coronavirus Media Briefing held on Friday 15 January 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.

Howard Quayle 0:00
Well, good afternoon, everyone. And thank you all very much for joining us today. We are now into day nine of our circuit breakdown. As we have done all this week, we have our Director of Public Health joining us on zoom, the minister of health and social care is here in person at a safe distance. So without further ado, let’s go to our regular updates. First from the minister of health and social care on today’s numbers. David,

David Ashford 0:24
thank you, Chief Minister for attorney. First of all to today’s figures, the total number of tests undertaken is 24,873. The total number of tests concluded is 24,861. That means that last night 12 people were awaiting their results. The number of new cases is one, which is a day one test for a traveller who was already in isolation. The total number of active cases stands for 39 with one in hospital with that additional one new case, that means the total number of cases stands at 418. I just want to take the opportunity to reiterate again what I said at Wednesday’s briefing about the wearing of masks. There are those in our community who for various valid medical reasons can’t wear masks went out in public, I hope that we can all show some understanding that some of those not wearing masks, who may be some of the more vulnerable in our society, who are actually even more scared than most of us about catching COVID-19 and the effect it would have on them. So I asked if people are seeing without a mask, please consider they may have a very specific and legitimate reason for not wearing one. And again that we show tolerance and respect to all of our fellow community. Many of these individuals may be users of the sunflower laniado scheme, which allows people with hidden disabilities to use the sunflower lanyard as a discrete sign that they may require additional help or support. One of the things that has always been our Ireland’s great strength is our community kindness. And we need that now more than ever the stressful time for all of us. So please be considerate and recognise that there are some people who may need to take a different approach to the rest of us are now likely to briefly very quickly turn to vaccinations. The airport vaccination hub will be coming online at the end of this month on time as planned. We have also been looking at over potential hopes to allow for the rollout particularly now with the current lockdown that we have needed to bring in social distancing again. Many people may have seen work going on in the Chester street car park site of the old shoprite building. This is being fitted out and will become a vaccination hub in February to replace the hole currently situated at Newlands. It has the advantages of ample space for social distancing, and to allow for the dividing off of various areas required such as waiting areas, vaccination and post vaccination areas that are required to be in place. It is also not far from major bus routes with ample nearby parking. And we hope to have that open running in February to replace Newlands. Thank you, Chief Minister.

Howard Quayle 3:10
And thank you very much, David. So let’s move straight to our Director of Public Health for any updates you may wish to provide on our cases. And on contact tracing. I think Dr. You would also like to touch on a new symptom that we may need to be aware of Dr. Hewitt.

Henrietta Ewart 3:26
Thank you, Chief Minister. Yes, in terms of the new cases, as I think it’s already been said, we have one new case notified in the last 24 hours. And that’s in a returned traveller. So that’s absolutely to be expected. As long as we still have people coming across the border, we will have cases. And we have the very robust self isolation and testing arrangements in place. And the fact that we are picking up confirmed cases is just testimony to that. So you know that that is something not a cause of concern. In terms of cases arising in the community. We have not seen any of those for the last three days, which is the tentative green shoots of very good news. It’s too early to be too complacent about that yet, but it certainly looks as if we’re going in the right direction. And actually, I would like to say that it’s a testimony to how everybody has responded to changing our behaviour to avoid contacts and therefore really reduce the risk of any spread. So we need to keep going. We can’t relax yet, but things are beginning to look encouraging. Now in terms of the new symptom, this is to say as you have seen in the press releases from yesterday, that the European Centre for disease prevention control European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control ecdc has recently added a fourth symptom to the clinical case definition for COVID combat is shortness of breath. And that has been added to the previous three symptoms, which is everyone will will know by now is a temperature fever, new continuous cough and a change in one sense of taste or smell. So shortness of breath has now been added to that, that has been considered by us in public health and has also gone through dhsc for consideration by the clinical Advisory Committee. And as a result of all that deliberation, it has been added formally to our case, different definition and symptom list here. And so that is now reflected in the assessments that will be made by 111. And indeed anywhere else in the care system, in terms of assessing people for possible COVID. Thank you, Chief Minister.

Howard Quayle 5:52
And thank you very much talk to you. While Of course it is always disappointing to hear of any case, the fact that our new one case today is already in safe self isolation, that’s positive. It shows that the measures we have in place are doing what they are designed to do. It is encouraging that we have not seen any additional community cases again today. However, very it’s very early days, and I’m sure you will tell me that we should not read too much into it yet. We are about to head into the second weekend of our circuit break lockdown. I know that the weekends can be particularly tough during the week for some there a school or work to keep us busy. weekends or times we might have gone to see family or friends come for a pint gone to do sports. For me it would normally have meant spending time visiting my parents for a copper. It is tough for me not be able to do this. And I know that this is the case for so many people out there too. I know how much you would like to get together with friends or loved ones. But I have to ask you not to. I have to ask you to stay at home and do your bit to stop the spread. Coleman does not like stepping into your life like this. We don’t like coming up with between you and your loved ones. It is not the Manx way. But as you’ve heard from Dr. You at we are making progress, you are making a difference. I know there has been a lot of speculation about whether or not we will be able to end this lockdown on the 27th of January as we have suggested. The simple and honest answer is that at this stage, we don’t know there are encouraging signs that the lockdown is having the effect that we sought, it is keeping to a bare minimum person to person contact. And this is allowing us to identify and isolate cases in our community. It will be some time before we know if we have turned a corner, it will be longer still until we can be sure that we have rid ourselves again of the virus. There is a lot of uncertainty, I know. One thing I can tell you is that we will only continue for the lockdown for as long as we judge it to be necessary. But at the same time, we must get this right not rushed. We want to be able to return to the position we were in we were in before Christmas, where our businesses are open. Our children are at school. And wherever we are, we are able to go out and about enjoying a near normal life, and most importantly, where our vaccination programme is continuing at pace. The last thing we want to do is rush to release the lockdown only to find that there is still COVID in the community. And we have to lock down again. The Council of Ministers of course reviews the situation and the measures in place on a regular basis. We have identified Monday as an important moment for us to make decisions about next steps. I certainly do not want to prejudge that meeting, we will take all the information we have at the time, we will consider the advice of our clinical and public health experts and we will make decisions then I will come and update you. That is Monday. Of course as much as so as with so much of life the outcome may not be binary ended or extended. One thing that this virus has taught us is that we have to be flexible and to adapt to the situation. If we continue to see a positive outlook, then we may decide to take gradual cautious steps back to normality, a tapered approach. But I do need to say that if the safe situation does deteriorate between now and then we may have to tighten the screws again. The equation is simple. The better we all do, the sooner we can start to return to normal. Before I move to questions I did want to touch on the question of financial support. The Treasury minister updated this time last week about what was planned and I was grateful to him and to the teams at the Treasury and the Department for enterprise for everything. They have done to get the schemes up and running. There have been over 2000 applications for mirror 1000 have already been approved and will be paid shortly on the cbss, the corona virus business support scheme to support businesses. I know that the first payments have been made today, and the team will be working over the weekend to ensure that the ball will be paid on Monday. I know that there have been some concerns about eligibility. The teams have been looking at this and have been able to expand the scope to cover those who most need it. The Treasury minister has put a range of information on the various schemes, and I know he will continue to do so as they evolve. In the meantime, there is a lot of information on our COVID website.

Howard Quayle 10:49
The lockdown is not good for our economy. That goes without saying, I am pleased that our office based companies have proved to be so resilient, and I’ve been able to move to home working so effectively. There are so many sectors that can’t and these are the people we especially need to help. And these briefings on a number of occasions we have paid tribute to those who work in essential retail, those working for example in our pharmacies, or ensuring we have food for our families that our families deserve, and they deserve our thanks. They also deserve our respect. Give them the space to do their job safely. Ensure you are going into shops with clean hands so that their working environment can stay safe. And if you have disposable face coverings, please take it with you and dispose of it properly. Don’t leave it in the trolley for those who work there, or the next customer to deal with. I did want to highlight one other sector that is quietly and safely doing great work. Our engineering and manufacturing sector has continued to work during this lockdown. I know they are doing what they can to ensure they do this with all social distancing, and other hygiene measures in place. I mentioned the sector as many of our companies on Ireland are designing and producing medical equipment that is being used in the fight against COVID-19 both on Ireland and beyond. They have found solutions and manufactured supplies for nobles. When supplies have been unavailable from other routes or a new novel design is required. Many of our companies are directly supporting the global covid 19 response by working on the design and manufacture of component parts that are used in medicines and medical equipment. This includes ventilators and the machinery that manufactures the COVID vaccine. I would like to pay tribute to the work they are doing during these difficult times and on a slightly different scale but not less impressive. I would like to mention 12 year old jack from Douglas, who has been doing his own bit of engineering to support our community. JACK has started to make and distribute clips, which allows spectacle wearers to use face coverings without the problems of them steaming up. He has supplied police officers with the clips and has made enough to allow all of the patrol staff who wear glasses to do so whilst remaining fog free. Thanks jack for helping our police officers to do their work safely. On this positive note, we can move to questions. And first we have today is just Stokes from ITV. Granada. Good afternoon, Josh faster. My Good afternoon, Chief

Josh Stokes 13:34
Minister, my first question to the health minister, please. Minister Ashford last Thursday, you said 2782 vaccinations will be completed by this week. But according to the latest statistics, a total of 2000 children six people have been vaccinated. Can you firstly confirm this is correct? And secondly, does this now mean the Isle of Man is behind schedule on the rollout of the vaccine?

David Ashford 13:55
No, it doesn’t. Josh, I can confirm that the figure on the website is correct the 2206. I’ve been waiting for this question actually about the 2700 because it was part of a briefing. But you’ve got to look at what I said earlier in the briefing as well. So for instance, this was the briefing on the seventh of January in questions. I stated earlier in that briefing to help them can have Marla newspapers, and I quote, we will still be sticking to our plan. And we will still in the initial stages until we have access to Oxford. And we can ramp up be doing the roughly 1141 per week. The figure we have achieved, as you say is the 2206 which is due to the amount of doses we’ve been able to get out of the vials and trays and use because it is important to mention with the focus of vaccine, you have to defrost the entire tray when I made reference later in the briefing to the 2700. That was in reference to a question of asking where we were in the vaccination programme, and that included if we’d been able to use the Oxford vaccine. As I explained at briefings earlier this week. We haven’t been able to do so we will still outstanding, the indemnity and the protocols. And that’s where the differences.

Josh Stokes 15:07
Okay, thank you. And just following on from that, do you have an idea of how many total vaccinations you’d like to see completed by next week? Now you’ve got a better idea.

David Ashford 15:15
So assuming Oxford comes online, then the figures will the additional vaccination figure will be roughly around about 1300 to 1400. But obviously, that is assuming that the Oxford vaccine comes online.

Josh Stokes 15:30
We’re just pull off now how likely you think it is that the auto vaccine will come online?

David Ashford 15:33
Well, I it’s got to get clinical sign off yet, Josh. So until until I know the clinical sign off, is there. I’m not a betting man. I’m not going to put gamble on it.

Josh Stokes 15:42
Okay, thank you. My second question again to yourself. Can you just clarify exactly why the government is still generally only strongly recommending people wear masks in numerous settings, including care homes and schools? I’ve had a teaching assistant contact me who is concerned, this is only being advised in school and following a previous case within a school. So given the benefits, why can the government not make it mandatory in these places unless you are exempt

David Ashford 16:05
in terms of in terms of masks, and I will bring Dr. Hewitt in for a piece of our masks in a minute. But to make clear, the reason at the moment is only recommended is legally It is very, very hard to enforce miscues countries that have tried to do it have found it very difficult to do. And we do have to remember this, as I said in my statement before, there are people in the community who can’t, for whatever reason, wear masks. So it is not really practical. And it has led in other countries to quite serious abuse of people who’ve been out or false reports of people being unable to wear masks the police having to attend because effectively is a criminal offence, only to then find that the person has an exemption for one reason or another. There has also been issues in the UK, of course, around the policing of it, where the police forces have made quite clear that they do not have the resources to be able to do so. And that they will and some several chief constables came out in the UK and said they bluntly would not be enforcing us. So we have to take that all into account. But we do have to say we recommend very, very strongly that those who can wear a mask in settings do so. And with that I’ll bring in the Director of Public Health. Thank you, Minister.

Henrietta Ewart 17:13
I don’t really have very much to add to that because you’ve given a very clear and comprehensive account. Certainly on the basis of the evidence, we very much want people to wear masks as far as they are possibly able. But as the minister says there are some people who cannot and we want to avoid all the issues about inappropriate stigmatisation and abuse for those people. And as the minister has said, enforcing through the police route just isn’t really an option here.

Unknown Speaker 17:41
Thank you.

Josh Stokes 17:43
Thank you.

Howard Quayle 17:44
Thanks very much, Josh. We now move on to Simon Richardson from business 365. Good afternoon, Simon Foster. My

Unknown Speaker 17:51
Good afternoon, Chief

Unknown Speaker 17:52
Minister, my

Unknown Speaker 17:52
first question is also for the health minister, please

Unknown Speaker 17:57
know the figures, the latest

Unknown Speaker 17:59
figures look very promising. But clearly contact tracing is critical at this stage in trying to get a handle on the outbreak. Now, how many people are involved in the contact tracing process? And could this be rapidly increased if it became necessary?

David Ashford 18:14
What I will do, I’ll take the last bit if I can Simon we can increase numbers if necessary. But we do have to recognise that maybe in order to do that we may have to stop doing all the things. So there is an impact elsewhere by diverting resource and but with that I will bring in the Director of Public Health so I don’t steal her Thunder again, and be able to answer the wider point hopefully around contract tracing.

Henrietta Ewart 18:36
Thank you, Minister, I can’t off the top of my head give you actual numbers. But I can say that we have already brought in surge capacity to increase the numbers doing contact tracing. And we currently have no concerns that they’re being overwhelmed by the numbers. Fortunately, the numbers are now beginning to tail off. And as the lockdown has obviously, come into force, people have far fewer contacts than they did before. So that huge surge in numbers that we had related to the Christmas period and the new year period, we’ve now worked through. And in relation to that it’s probably worth saying that we have well over 100 people who subject to a negative test today should be ending their self isolation tomorrow. So So long as everything continues it is and locked down arrangements continued to be as well observed as they are being the moment the need to bring in more and more capacity to contact tracing shouldn’t be there. But if things go awry, and we need to do that, we have capacity that we can call on very quickly to respond to that. Thank you. Thank you.

Unknown Speaker 19:47
Secondly, there’s been a call in Wales for to be a vaccinations minister who’s entirely focused on the smooth running of the vaccination process. Could that be a benefit here or is it necessary given the scale of our inoculation programme

Howard Quayle 20:04
for David to

David Ashford 20:05
effectively It is me Simon, as Minister for the department’s when you’re talking about a jurisdiction the size of Wales, I think that makes sense, just as the UK as a whole has done a vaccinations minister, because logistically, if we think we have logistical problems with the five sir vaccine and rollouts, it’s nothing compared to those jurisdictions. So I think it does make sense to have someone actually bringing all the logistics together, because the machinery of government over there is absolutely massive, from getting it into the, into the country to them, distributing it. It’s very different on a small island. And I think we’ve already shown that when we want to be we can be very nimble in getting logistics in place. We have delivered so far as can be seen on the website, 2206 vaccinations. And if the Oxford vaccine comes online next week, then that gives us more bit more mobility to move forward. And we can we can keep pace with the delivery schedule. Thank you very much.

Howard Quayle 21:01
Thank you very much, Simon. Now we move to Tim Glover from Manx radio. Good afternoon, Tim faster, my

Tim Glover 21:06
good afternoon faster my just on the emergency loan. And I know the changes been made from 500 to 250 pounds, we had that loan last time. So we knew it was going to impact on the small traders. We’ve had a lot of comments along the lines of why is somebody in a challenging financial situation, who’s earned and paid his taxes and National Insurance, this whole working life not receiving any support from governments. And as one listeners put it, the government mantra is we’re all in this together. But it seems so much sailing around in luxury yachts, while others are in a tin bath, trying desperately not to sink.

Howard Quayle 21:46
Thanks. Well, if people have paid into the national bank’s National Insurance form than they are entitled to a payout. I know there are about 100 people who don’t pay us weekly, and sometimes they pay us at the end of each year. And if they contact our tax office and make that payment, then that enables them to be entitled to the payout. We’ve also said that if anyone feels that they’re struggling to survive off the money, they can come back to Treasury to see if there are other schemes that we can use to help them out during this period of time to cover their household expenses, the they may qualify for Jobseeker’s allowance, etc. And they can earn up as you as you’ve said, they get 200 they can earn up to an additional 50 pounds through work without having to see to have that payment stopped. So we are listening to the problems and and Treasury are coming up with solutions where possible. And that’s why we’ve come up with a business support scheme as well.

Tim Glover 22:49
That’s just a follow up then on that. So just got one here. Big no overheads at all ready doesn’t mean he’s better off, he owns his tools owns his bam, without HP it means my overhead. So basically, the bank wants in their mortgage payment kids wanting feeding gas and electricity bills that need paying. I’m not allowed to work and governments have asked, but I’m also not allowed the gramme brilliant.

Howard Quayle 23:14
Well, if they are up to date with their self employed contributions, they will be entitled to support a weekly basis. So really, it’s contact the Department for enterprise contact, Treasury, Social Security, and I’m sure they will do their utmost. If every all the payments are up to date, I would hope that they would get support. I don’t know, David, if you have any, anything additional? Yeah,

David Ashford 23:38
yeah, the first thing to say, Tim, you start you mentioned at the start about loan, it’s a grant system, I just need to be nurse need to be clear on that. In relation to support packages, there is all the packages available as well, which are open to the self employed, including me. So the individual concerned if they didn’t have those level of overheads they could actually apply for me.

Tim Glover 23:58
Okay, the second question, and I’ll leave it to Paul because he got the story, but it is to the Minister for Health and Social Care concerning the patient, the entity that pour molten dead. The key thing there is a lot of people are disgusted. To be honest with the comment, then this is the word use most in the comments at this situation, that a department that has care in the title put someone in this situation?

David Ashford 24:27
Well, the first thing I need to say Tim is it’s not the department that makes the decision. It is actually the clinical people looking after the patient. It is not a decision by the department. It is not a decision by politicians or civil servants. It is a decision made by the people in charge of that patient’s care. I’m very limited in what I can say in relation to individual cases. But there are always two sides to every story. People will be aware of the new rules that came into effect that made it clear that returning travellers may only self isolate with another member of the household if that person tried with them, there is an exemption in law for patient transfers, who can have a modified direction noticed to be cared for at home, where the whole household isolates, and that is based on the requirement for ongoing care in the home based on the person’s medical condition. exemptions are granted based on a clinical assessment of the patient. Clinical assessments are undertaken to reach the decision on whether the person is capable for caring for themselves. Where we were at patient transfer concerned, it’s actually done twice because it’s assessed by the UK team Kevin for them, and also the Isle of Man medical team. So that is an objective test on whether the the modification can apply. In this particular case, I can say the both medical teams in the island and also the UK, overseeing the care of the patient will have an absolutely unanimous view that the an exemption was not required, and that the person is fully capable of self care for the period of isolation. That is the medical view from the medical professionals in charge of that person’s care. And it’s a unanimous view by both teams. So as I said, At the start, it is not for a politician or civil servant, to decide if there is a clinical need, that is for the clinicians themselves. And that is exactly the process that has been followed in this case, there have been patients where due to medical care, they’ve needed care at home, that have been granted the exemption and have gone down the route of the whole household isolating the clinical team looking after this patient have been absolutely clear, both here in the UK, for this patient that is not required.

Tim Glover 26:34
clinical side, yes. But mental health side?

David Ashford 26:37
Well, again, the clinicians take everything into account, they take the whole health of the person into account. And that is the clinical view term. And in fact, at this point, it probably be opportunity for me to bring in the Director of Public Health to give a bit of a wider piece around why we ask people to isolate away from the home.

Henrietta Ewart 26:57
Thank you, Minister. Yes, the the principle that’s involved here is really to prevent mixing, and particularly to prevent mixing between the potentially infected and people who are not potentially infected. And of course, because of the very high infection rates across, and the link with hospital acquired infection, anybody who is travelling back from UK, and anybody who has received care in UK hospitals is clearly regarded as potentially infectious, and hence, our self isolation and testing requirements, which apply to all travellers. And obviously, the fairly recent modification to that is that unlike previously, when the rates across were lower, returning travellers are now required to isolate separately and not to return into another household. Now, obviously, it’s possible to have individual exceptions to that. And that is based on appropriate assessment of the particular individual case. And that’s already been outlined by the Minister. And as he’s explained, there is consensus between the clinical teams both here and across in this particular case, and therefore, you know, there does not seem to be any grounds to bury this in this case. Thank you.

Tim Glover 28:16
Thank you. I’ll pass the baton on to Paul. Right.

Howard Quayle 28:19
Thank you very much, Tim. We now move on to Paul Moulton from Isle of Man, television. Good afternoon, Paul mastermind.

Paul Moulton 28:26
Good afternoon. And thank you, Tim Glover for starting this ball rolling. As you know, over 5000 people have seen the video. I think your intro today Chief Ministers say the government shouldn’t be running everything and the family should do more themselves and you want to pass responsibility back. Therefore, what reason can be that these two people consensually will sign any forms required. he or she’s now come back negative from a test by the way. And he says to me today, please do the right thing, that he’s willing to have a test isolate for three weeks, whatever. Surely, people can take their own responsibility for this sort of thing. And it should never have got to this case to be legislated upon by anybody. And even though it has isn’t this time for you, as a leader to say, you know what, we’ve made a mistake here. If these people consent to consensual to isolate themselves, then we’ll let them isolate and let them be grownups.

Howard Quayle 29:21
Well, well, Paul, first and foremost, you know, we need to check the full stories here. I’d not convinced you maybe have got the full story. Also, really, it is a case for medics to decide whether or not people should isolate given the infection rate, the current levels of infection rate. Now, of course, if someone is seriously ill, then our medics are going to say yeah, we they need to be looked after. But we also have to remember that a significant number of people who have come back some of them have sadly been patients who have come back from hospitals and have gone on to infect the family. So based on that a decision has been made. That those patients that don’t need the support of a family member, and that’s judged by the medics not by politicians, then it’s best that they separate isolate separately so that they do not potentially pass on the infection to someone else. And really, therefore, it’s not up to us as politicians, I would suggest the media to we should leave it to medics who are eminently qualified to advise whether that person needs to be looked after or not. I know David, if he wants to,

David Ashford 30:30
yeah, I will, I will expand on my earlier comments, if I may. The purpose Paul of people isolating away from the home as well is you say initially, by the way of subvention there, she say her test has come back negative, there’ll be the initial return test. And as we know, the initial return test is only expected to pick up 7% of cases that we’ve got, you know, we don’t know for certain someone is not infected on to new really reach most people around about day seven of isolation and then beyond. And there is even that 1% of people who can test negative past day 13 in relation to the patient themselves, it is done as a clinical assessment for that very, very reason. Because if they do come back and they infect their household, there is no indicate we do not know for certain what the impact on that household will be. Many people do not get seriously ill with COVID-19. But people do. And that can be household members, we have had cases throughout the pandemic, where an index case has gone into a household, the household has been infected. And it is the other person within the household that has become seriously ill and required hospital treatments. So that is one of the reasons that this is in place, it is in place for all travellers returning. So the patient transfer is actually an exemption, we have done many of these exemptions, and many that haven’t got exemptions. And I’ve been contacted by people who have had exemptions and people who haven’t with the patient transfer. And this is the first one that has come forward and actually said they’ve had a problem with the process.

Paul Moulton 31:55
And they had to go to the press, which they didn’t want to do. And let’s face it, it should never got to the press. Nowhere Do I hear you saying anything about we’ll have a look at it. We feel sorry for them or anything. It’s I think you’ve lost the room to some degree on this one, surely just be the bigger people here and give them the the two adults Can’t they do what they need to do. There’s no other people involved. I know we’re talking about an individual case that this does stink, that they can’t just do what they want to do. And she’s clearly asked for help. Now, whatever the medical reasons, given, she wants somebody in that house and therefore Surely, she should be given that right,

David Ashford 32:31
Paul, a very interesting phrase you use there, which is why can’t they just do whatever they want to do. If we let everyone cherry pick and choose what they wanted to do, then we would have serious issues. The simple fact is there is processes in place for reason, with patient transfer. When people go for their patient transfer appointment, they are aware that upon return, they will need to self isolate alone. I know in this case, obviously it was classed as emergency care. But there is a clinical assessment behind that. And everything we do with health is based on medical advice. If the clinicians who ultimately are the people who know about the case, know the details of the case and know the details of the person had decided unsaid this person needs help and support. And even from a mental health point of view, as Tim mentioned, and needs to therefore isolate at home, then the exemption would have been granted. I need to say again, there wasn’t even disagreement between the clinical teams in this case. In this case, both the UK and Ireland teams on both assessments were absolutely unanimous that the person did not need to be exempted from the self isolation requirements. Okay, follow our medical teams advice because it is a clinical decision at the end of the day. I know that the couple aren’t happy with this, which is obviously why they have gone to the media. But we do have to follow the rules. The rules are in place for a reason.

Paul Moulton 33:53
Okay, you get to that Slayer contacts complex about saying let them do their own thing. You know what I meant? This is only affecting chipping. But let’s let’s pop that quickly. Um, this one, this new secondary set up in Douglas. So I suppose I’ve heard of it. Maybe I’ve missed it. But it was always gonna be the airport. Is this now just another sort of sudden moment to do this? Or have you always been planning to have one in the older store in Douglas? And if so, Will people pick where they go when they get their turn for the job?

David Ashford 34:22
Thank you, Chief Minister. No, there will actually be done. gh will be done on a geographic basis. The plan initially was to have Newlands still running alongside the airport hub board. Since we set up Newlands obviously, things have changed. We’ve gone into lockdown. We’ve had to bring restrictions back including social distancing. And Newlands isn’t the best of buildings for doing things like that. So the reason we’re looking at transferring Newlands into the old shoprite building is it’s a huge space. As I say it can be partitioned off very easily because we really need three areas. We need a social distance waiting area for those who are going to receive the vaccine. We need obviously the booth dock divided up space For people to receive the vaccine, and then we again need a waiting space for those who’ve had the vaccine who have to wait 15 minutes after their appointment before being discharged. So that gives us the ability to do that in a with a much greater flow going through the Newlands does with the current restrictions in place, so that we’ve worked with dry and I’ve got to put on record my thanks to dry, who’ve done an excellent job and working on this to ensure that we’ve got that space

Unknown Speaker 35:27
and instal updates of both and can just repeat when when both are coming online.

David Ashford 35:31
So both so the airport one is it will be online by the end of this month. And then we will have the old shoprite building a Chester street open boarding as a replacement for Newlands within fair in February. Okay,

Howard Quayle 35:44
thanks very much, Paul. Now we move on to Paul Hartman from alderman newspapers. Good afternoon, Paul, faster. My

Unknown Speaker 35:50
estimate, Chief Minister, firstly, when we are in a position to exit this lockdown. How gradual will that process be? This tapered approach you mentioned will be like last year sorts of a phased easing of restrictions over a period of weeks or months. What would the timeline be like?

Howard Quayle 36:07
Well, I would hope I certainly hope Paul, it wouldn’t be months. But yeah, we did phase that we did taper it last time where we allowed certain sectors back and made sure that was okay. So we’ll be looking at something similar. But as I say, I don’t want to say too much more yet. We don’t know what’s going to happen over the weekend. It’s looking good at this moment in time. But as I’ve said many, many times we can’t be complacent, the last thing we want to do was rush in, open up, and then have to shut down in two, three weeks time, that would really be a bad move. So we’ll do our best. We’ve got a meeting on Monday of the Council of Ministers, and with the information from the Director of Public Health and our medics, we will make decisions and then advise you all accordingly.

Unknown Speaker 36:49
So secondly, could you clarify what the rules are for non essential travel on the roads, for example, say driving to a beach to do exercise? Obviously last year, we had the non essential travel ban. Are there any rules around that now? Or is it just guidance?

Howard Quayle 37:04
Well, it’s guidance, we would hope that if you can, you can walk out of your property and exercise. But we appreciate that there may be people living in the centre of town where that’s hard where they may bump into people because of sheer volumes of people living around there. And that may be necessary to go further afield. And we’re just asking people to use their common sense, really, we don’t want to have to say to people you can’t get in your car to go out to exercise. If we see this being abused, we may have to review it. But I sincerely hope we don’t have to I don’t know, David, if you’d like to add anything to that.

David Ashford 37:39
And I think you’ve covered it pretty well, Chief Minister at his guidance, obviously, the advice we would issue is that people when they exercise should stay as close to home as practically possible. Obviously, those that are in more urban areas, that’s not quite so easy always to do. But we would still urge people as they take a shorter journey as possible. But exercise is one of the reasons of exemptions under the prohibition of movement.

Unknown Speaker 38:03
Thank you.

Howard Quayle 38:04
Thanks very much, Paul. Now we’ll move on to Alex Bell from BBC Isle of Man. Good afternoon, Alex festa. My Good afternoon. And

Unknown Speaker 38:11
it just just for another day really, we are still awaiting the results of the sequencing of these cases, which will just go on New Year’s Eve. And where are they they were promised that during this week, I believe.

Howard Quayle 38:23
Right? I don’t know, Doctor, you What would you like to comment on that? Please?

Henrietta Ewart 38:26
We haven’t received any more results through from the lab yet. I’ll chase it up and see where they are. But as we’ve said before, it doesn’t have any bearing on the initial management of outbreaks or cases.

Unknown Speaker 38:37
Thank you. And just just for the record, how

Unknown Speaker 38:39
many samples were sent over to that lab?

Henrietta Ewart 38:43
We’ve been sending over all the positive cases

Unknown Speaker 38:46
over Okay, thank you very much. Thank you just to move on then to vaccines, and possibly one of the health minister, are we to expect this weekly rate of around 1100 jumps per week being administered for the duration of the programme or will it increase?

David Ashford 39:05
It will increase because when Oxford comes online, then we’ll then we’ll be able to do more. But equally, the orders aren’t evenly spread out over the next nine months. The delivery schedules are based on what the manufacturer is believe they can manufacture and get into the UK, we are looking to create a public facing document to go walk which will show the delivery schedule so people can understand what we are likely to be getting and also how that translates into the population being vaccinated over the next nine months that is currently in the process of being worked up. But the delivery schedules aren’t even. So we get for instance, I think it’s the end of March. There’s a huge jump in the delivery schedules, and then we really ramp up. That’s why I made my comments earlier about saying we are staffed up and designed to be able to cope with the delivery schedules as they go up so does our ability to vaccinate.

Unknown Speaker 39:58
So in terms of a weekly target That was very much a moving target is it

David Ashford 40:01
it’s very much a moving target. That’s why I haven’t actually put money on what the weekly targets are going to be. Because while it may seem to be a steady target now, it will absolutely ramp up once the deliveries of Oxford start feeding into the system. I am aware of a new announcement that’s been made actually, just before we came on to this briefing by five sir saying that because of work they’ve got to do on the Belgian plant, the UK is actually going to receive less orders of five so than they were initially expecting over the next couple of months. While that works ongoing, which I think is a drop of that 18%. They’re predicting what the UK was expected to receive that will affect us, obviously, with the fossa vaccine, but it won’t affect us with the Oxford and the other part of the fossa statement is afternoon is set after that his work is done on the plant, then they will actually ramp up production in the UK would actually get more quicker. And that will affect us as well. Thank you very much.

Howard Quayle 40:55
Thanks very much, Alex. And now we move on to Sam Turton from decaf.

Sam Turton 41:01
Yeah, first, my chief minister, actually, we’ve had many people say to us about the problems that happen with the support schemes. And we’ve seen the food bank see they’re getting busier again, does this perhaps again, highlight that COVID has shone a spotlight on the fragile nature of our economy. And really, we need a lot more fundamental changes regarding cost of living moving out of the pandemic, and not just in this brief period now.

Howard Quayle 41:24
Well, certainly, I know people are finding it hard. And they’re finding it hard at this moment in time, especially just after Christmas, everyone tends to max out over the Christmas and New Year’s Eve period. And, and people are struggling. And that’s why Treasury have reviewed the situation and have come up with a business support scheme. Obviously, if we were to have to announce that a longer lockdown period, then we would have to, I think revisit the support that we are giving to the people. So yeah, I get this and I know that Treasury and social security are looking at the current situation, Sam but so just to label the position will also look at a longer term issue of people two weeks into a into a lockdown really struggling. Does this not suggest that the island we have a real cost of living crisis over here? Well, we were one of the first jurisdictions to bring in the you know, where possible the living wage. So of course, we you know, we want to help people on the on the lower end of income and society and I know in the last four years Treasury have raised the threshold where people have to pay income tax for which has taken 1000s of people out of the bracket of having to pay any income tax, we have numerous reports that are being worked on at the moment and to housing and poverty on the island to address that very situation that you that you raised them. It’s a very important situation. And yeah, we we feel we need to do more and and we will do more.

Sam Turton 42:54
And finally, just quick thing on them vaccines for Mr. Ashman is the rollout of Oxford, likely to start into care homes. We’re still looking at Monday.

David Ashford 43:02
And as I say the clinical protocols are just being signed off. But at the moment, we’re still on course for starting on Monday.

Howard Quayle 43:10
Thank you. Thanks very much, Sam. Now we move on to last but not least, Rob Pritchard from three FM Good afternoon, Rob faster.

Rob Pritchard (3FM) 43:17
My estimate, Chief Minister, my first question to the health minister just over the vaccine programme is contacted by someone today with regards to an over 80s residents who’s been invited to register. Now they’ve already been told that the nearest vaccine slot that they’re likely to get is on the likes of the 16th or 17th of February. And when the person in question asked, they were told that because of paperwork having to be processed, that was the earliest time they may be able to offer. So I was wondering what was first off, what is the actual estimated waiting time for a vaccine slot in this category? And also, are you aware of any potential backlogs in the system of getting people booked in?

David Ashford 43:58
I’ll say, well, but have I ever now I’m not. In fact, most people that have contacted me who’ve been registered for a vaccine have received it very timely after their registration. I think the person needs to check that that might not be something to do around their second dose of the vaccine. If they want to contact me direct, they’re more than happy to and I’ll happily look into it if I’ve got that individuals details, because that’s, that’s very strange. And it’s the first time I’ve ever heard of anyone receiving an appointment that far out. Because Because we will be expecting to be starting to move on to other age groups by them.

Rob Pritchard (3FM) 44:32
Okay, thank you. My second question, what lessons have been learned from the last lockdown and what extra advice and support is in place for victims or potential victims of domestic abuse during lockdown scenarios?

Howard Quayle 44:46
Well, obviously we’ve made it a lot easier now, Robert, for Rob for people to move out of the home where there’s domestic abuse. In the initial period, it was you know, we weren’t quick off the mark in saying that people who were living on Domestic Abuse were allowed to move out of the house to further for their own protection. That’s now as it is now happening. And I know dhsc will be working with the charities that look at help look after people of domestic abuse to ensure that they get as much support as possible. David, would you like to expand on that? Yeah, we

David Ashford 45:19
are working with the charities around domestic abuse is a serious concern. We want to try and support all those who might find themselves in that awkward situation. And it is ongoing work to ensure that they can get the support that they require.

Howard Quayle 45:34
But equally, you know, moving on, Rob, other other areas, I think homelessness, it was a really important area, we acted quick in the previous lockdown to ensure that everyone who was technically homeless was found somewhere to stay. And as a result of that, we’ve gone out for a pen notice expressions of interest notice for people to charities or businesses to offer a service for those who are homeless. So I think good is coming out of this where we’ve been able to walk our game and look after our Ireland’s most vulnerable. But that doesn’t mean that we still don’t and can’t learn more and do a better job and we should always look to improve our service. Thank you

Unknown Speaker 46:18
very much.

Howard Quayle 46:18
Thanks very much, Robin. And thank you very much for those questions. We will be back on Monday so that I can brief you on the outcome of the Council of Ministers Meeting. As always, if there is a reason to hold one sooner, of course we will. As we head into the second weekend of our circuit break lockdown, please carry on doing what you have been doing so well so far. Thank you for staying at home. If you can, then please do so. I’ve been heartened to see how many of you have been wearing face coverings. If you can, then please do so. As always, if you do need information, please visit golf.im forward slash nine forward slash COVID-19 or call the community support line on 686262 or email COVID-19 community support@gmail.im if you have any COVID symptoms then call 111. I will leave things here for today and wish you a pleasant and safe weekend. Please remember the basics. Stay at home. Before you go out. Ask yourself is this essential? If you do go out where a face covering if you can if you have any symptoms and stay at home and call 111 as soon as you can make the right decisions to keep you your family and your island safe and to protect our vaccination programme. Thank you all very much

Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.