This is a very rough and unverified transcript of the Isle of Man Government Press Conference conducted on Friday 8th 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 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 for joining us today. Again, we are now into day two of our circuit break lockdown. And thank you for everything so many of you have already done for our island. Today as well as the Director of Public Health. I have with me the Treasury minister who would like to update you on what we are doing to support workers, our businesses, and our economy during this challenging time. We will come to this after the regular update from our Director of Public Health on cases and contact tracing. Doctor.
Henrietta Ewart 0:33
Thank you, Chief Minister. The total number of active cases today is 18. And all of them are self isolating at home. That means we’ve had two new positive results since yesterday. And both of these are day one test results for travellers who are already in self isolation. This takes the total number of confirmed cases to 392. The total number of test results reported in the last 24 hours is 206. We expect to complete the testing of the contacts from the truth wine and Tapas Bar and Ramsey over this coming weekend. Thank you, Chief Minister.
Howard Quayle 1:12
Thank you very much, Henrietta. Another reassuring day but I know there is still a long way to go. Before I hand over to the Treasury minister, I would like to return to the question of the vaccination programme. I know that a lot of people found it helpful to hear the health and social care ministers presentation yesterday. I do know that a large number of questions remain. We do not yet have all the answers. As we have them, we will share them with you. Now minister Ashford is on other businesses afternoon, but I’ve asked him to do another detailed vaccination briefing early next week. I’m sure he will also want to update on what the approval of the third vaccine, the modern vaccine might mean for the island. Meanwhile, I can tell you that today we sent letters to all of our residents over the age of 80, inviting them to come forward for vaccination. We have also sent an information leaflet explaining what is involved. A separate process is in place to arrange vaccinations for those aged over 80 who live in care or nursing homes. Let me now hand over to the Treasury Minister of Health.
Alf Cannan 2:26
Thank you, Chief Minister. Now I know that asking the community to stay at home for 21 days will have economic and financial impacts. And that is why we have immediately reopened our salary support scheme and the Manx earnings replacement allowance or mirror for short. Many of you will be familiar with these schemes. In the previous lockdown salary support paid out more than 43 million pounds and supported 11,000 individuals a month at its peak, a mirror paid out over 6 million pounds supporting 1940 people when it was needed most. The salary support scheme is therefore being reopened to all business sectors that were able to claim during last year’s period of lockdown. It is currently scheduled to be available to cover the current circuit break lockdown from the fourth to the 31st of January. The method of claiming remains the same along with the amount of support, which provides full financial assistance to any qualifying business of up to 280 pounds for a full time equivalent employee per week. Applications can be submitted from the first of February, but must be made no later than 30 days after the end of the month in which salary payments were made, which in this case is the second of March. Applications are made online and details of how to apply are available on the government COVID-19 website. The Manx earnings replacement allowance or mirror will be available from Monday the 11th of January for an initial three week period ending on Sunday the 31st of January. Mirror will again be available to both employed earners who were made redundant laid off or put on nil pay by their employer and those who are self employed but are prevented from carrying out their work due to the restrictions and of course who meet the qualifying conditions. Mirror will be paid at a standard rate of 200 pounds a week and individuals can earn a further 50 pounds a week whilst continuing to receive mirror. unemployed and self employed people who are not eligible for mirror may be eligible in certain circumstances for Jobseeker’s allowance instead, claims are now able to be made email@example.com slash mirror and anyone who was unable to make their claim online should contact us by phone or email. The phone line for both Mira and salary support inquiries is 648125 Now on the proviso that this circuit break lockdown works and the early restrictions can be lifted by the end of this month or early February, we can conservatively estimate that the total cost of the one month additional support will be between eight and 10 million pounds. I should also remind businesses that the government backed disruption loan guarantee and working capital loan schemes are still available and running through the island banks and we are continuing to support tourist accommodation providers through our strategic capacity scheme. In addition, our VAT and income tax departments will also listen carefully to businesses and individuals who need to defer payments or extend payment terms. However, I recognise that the mere and salary support was valuable mechanisms to support pay an income by themselves may not provide a solution to provide stability and a longer term lockdown. Indeed, I know that many of you will want to get back working and earning as soon as possible, particularly at this time of year. But in order to do so we must get this virus under control. My hope is that we can do this quickly and effectively. And then we can consider allowing individuals trades and professions back to work in an orderly fashion. If we cannot do this quickly and effectively and the virus spreads rather than diminishes, and we cannot get you back to work in a reasonable timeframe, then we will have to review the relevance of our financial support. In other words, we are trusting that short, sharp action now we’ll deal with the situation. If it doesn’t, we will review the financial support available.
Alf Cannan 6:40
As I have said last year, government cannot think for everybody nor can it bring forward a financial package for every set of circumstance. And I know that it is not easy for some president. It is therefore imperative that we do not like lose sight of the fact that the health of the nation it’s inextricably linked with its financial well being by making every effort to obey the rules to stay at home as much as you possibly can. And by taking precautions when you’re out in public. You are not only protecting lives and other people’s health, you are protecting jobs and businesses. Last year, the nation rose up to its responsibilities. And I’m asking you again now that in the immediate aftermath of this circuit breaker, you once again, look to support our locally produced goods, our local shops, our local pubs, our local restaurants, and our local businesses in the same spirit that we did last summer. We must be a community working together with a common goal to extinguish the virus threat, protect health and get our economy back on its feet again, thank you, Chief Minister.
Howard Quayle 7:46
And thank you very much for that update. Now while I know this circuit break, lockdown has not been welcome news. I know that the fact that we have been able to switch our support back on so quickly has been well received. Just before we go to the media for questions, I would like to go over some issues that people have been asking for us to clarify. Firstly on childcare. We covered much of this earlier in the week. But I think it’s useful to recap for essential workers if their child are ordinarily cared for by going into someone else’s household. whilst they go to work, they can still do so. As I mentioned on Wednesday, children from separated or divorced households can still travel between both parents. This is the same as we did back in spring. However, I would respectfully ask you or where possible to wear face masks, wash your hands and observe the usual rules that we’ve all asked you to comply with. Secondly, there is an important issue relating to people who may be providing care to others, someone who may be vulnerable, elderly or who has a disability. The care provider might be a family member, a neighbour or a volunteer. Again, we will go back to what we did in the spring, those people will be able to continue to provide that care whether that is bringing shopping in or household help. But and this is important, they will need to take the appropriate steps to minimise any risk. And thirdly, a post on social media related to patient transfers has caused a little confusion. This is a really important area for us. So I would like to clear this this up. The question has been whether patient transfers can return to their household to self isolate. And I can confirm that there is a process where this can be allowed if there is a clinical need. But this is an exception to the rule and as such needs to be approved by the department of health and social care. The patient transfer team can help people with advice on this. We will do our best to clarify sorry about that to clarify points like this. At these briefings, and I know there are questions, we are regularly updating our digital channels with information. If you can, in the first instance, please visit gov.im forward slash COVID-19. The team have been busy all week refreshing the content, and there is a wealth of information available. For general inquiries, please do not phone the COVID 111 line, which is currently dealing with a high volume of calls, including arranging appointments for the current vaccination priority group. Instead, please call the community support line on 686262. That’s 686262 or email COVID-19 community support at golf dot i am. The team are there every day between 8am and 6pm. I am aware that there’s been quite a bit of discussion on social media around businesses and construction sites, in particular, not following the rules. Let me be clear, our enforcement team is now active. And whilst I do accept in the spirit of making sites safe, there may have been some finishing works needed where they posed a health and safety risk. I hope that they will all now be safe and secure. The message is clear stay at home. One final point before I turn to the media is around the announcement this morning that the UK that they will be requiring a negative test before people travel there. First of all, the announcement was clear that this is only applying to those countries that are not in the United Kingdom government’s travel corridor list. We are on that list. So these new restrictions do not apply to us. But this is always maybe a good time to reiterate that our advice remains that people should not travel off Island at the moment. Unless that is an absolutely essential reason to do so. And now to the media. And first we have Jeff Stokes from ITV. Granada. Good afternoon, Josh.
Josh Stokes 12:11
Good afternoon, Chief Minister. My first question to the Treasury minister, please. Mr. Cannon, you’ve once again switched back on the money schemes of businesses trying to survive another lockdown. But this lockdown could have arguably been avoided if testing those in isolation was brought in sooner. So do you now regret the Treasury did not allocate more money to a robust testing regime for people in isolation sooner, rather than relying purely on 14 days in quarantine? Well, the
Alf Cannan 12:34
Treasury works in conjunction with the policies dictated by the Council of Ministers and public health. We have made substantial funds available throughout this crisis to meet government’s needs. And we have done the same again, once the testing regime was was brought in. So I trade Treasury was not determining or blocking any testing, we have simply gone with the government and public health policies.
Howard Quayle 13:01
Josh, can I just comment on that I’m pointing out that we did actually implement testing on day one and day 15 for all people returning on the 23rd of December, we were I think the only other people that do that are ourselves and Guernsey and we did that at the same time. So I don’t think we were we’re late we had the data that showed that there were increases in the infection rate in the United Kingdom, we took action straight away. It’s most unfortunate that maybe that 1% has maybe caused the problem where people get it after the 14 day quarantine. But we did take action pretty quick and did receive the support from Treasury to do the testing on day one and 15 straight away though, so I don’t want any there to be any impression that Treasury held up payment for us to go ahead the minute we had the recommendation from our medics to increase our testing regime. This full support was was there.
Josh Stokes 13:59
Okay, thank you. My second question to yourself, Chief Minister, you stated you aim for the lockdown to last for an initial 21 days now if the man is not able to reach local elimination of the virus again by then is the plan to extend the lockdown, or in other words is some form of Ireland locked down going to remain in place until the Isle of Man once again reaches their active cases?
Howard Quayle 14:19
Well, there’s two types of cases which I think most people will agree there’s those where we’ve got people coming back to the island and we’re doing the testing and they’re failing either there day one or the day 13 testing. That will not impact on the Council of Ministers view, whether we open up or not going forward because that’s under control. We know about it, they’re in quarantine, they can’t get out and about into the community. Our concern obviously is whether there’s any community cases as a result of this second cluster, at the moment, we have had non in the last couple of days. If that continues, then clearly we will be looking at opening up as soon as we possibly can. Obviously, if that continues, then we will, we may have to extend the period. But let’s cross that bridge when we get to it. I’m very hopeful that everyone following the rules will will flush out any infection in the community if it is there. And then we can get on with getting back to normal as soon as possible.
Josh Stokes 15:21
And just holding on to that, how does the vaccine rollout now correlate with the lockdown restrictions? For example, would you like to see the island locked down in some form while or vulnerable priority groups are vaccinated? No, I
Howard Quayle 15:31
think with the PPA we’ve got a good stock of PPA, there shouldn’t be a problem that we can carry on rolling out the vaccine. We can only do so much a week anyway, I think the Health Minister has gone to great lengths to explain the reasons behind that and the amount of supply that we have. But no, pp, the vaccination programme carries on it’s imperative that we do I think we would be looking at a drastic outbreak before we even had to consider making changes. I don’t envisage that. And I think it’s business as usual from a vaccine vaccination point of view. But obviously now our staff have to wear the full PPA whilst administering it.
Josh Stokes 16:13
Yeah, and the reason I asked to be about lockdown, I think people really wants to know specifically, what is needed to get out of this lockdown. Is that information published and made available to the public online anywhere,
Howard Quayle 16:22
I’m not sure but I’m more than happy to say we get 14 clear days with no community spread, then, you know, I would see as lifting the requirements, then or implementing changes all the time from then onwards. As I’ve said, I’m not including day one testing or day 15 testing, because those people will be in in quarantine isolation. And we do expect to get the odd case happening from time to time in that area. Thanks very much. Thank you. Next we have Simon Richardson from business 365. Good afternoon, Simon foster my Good afternoon, Chief
Simon Richardson 16:58
Minister, my first question also is for the Treasury minister, if I may. Mr. Cannon in terms of costs? Do you envisage accessing funds from the 250 million borrowing facility that you
Alf Cannan 17:13
announced last time around? Yeah, so we put in place the 250 million pounds as a cash flow precaution. We don’t really envisage going into that. At the moment. I think clearly this time of year, a lot of people are actually paying into Treasury, which is, which is a relief. And actually, you know, I should have to say that the result of the action that we took last year, I think the economy broadly, has performed pretty well, in most sectors, one or two exceptions, obviously, we are carrying on with our strategic capacity stock, the support for tourism, and accommodation providers. But you know, it’s there, as a precaution, it’s very difficult for me to say whether we will expect to dip into it, I’m hoping that we’ll get ourselves out of this lockdown in quick time that everybody pulls together, that we get control of the transmission of the virus. And we get regained control in terms of understanding from a council of ministers perspective of what is happening on the ground. You know, as soon as we do that, as soon as, as the chief minister says, we have some clear days of transmission, we can start getting people back to work. So I’m fairly confident actually, as it stands today, that Treasury is not going to be materially impacted, except, of course, that as I’ve outlined a conservative estimate another eight to 10 million pounds in support. But we’ve planned for that we’ve put together the funding for this type of event. And so I’m relatively comfortable as things stand at the moment.
Simon Richardson 18:47
And other things that Treasury has learned from the first lockdown last year that have been put into place, this time around to help from an administrative perspective, and also in terms of how the assistance is targeted?
Alf Cannan 19:01
Well, certainly we’ve found that the salary support scheme in the mirror the two schemes that we’ve switched back on worked very well and effectively last year, welcomed by the business community supported 1000s of individuals and jobs across the island man. And in fact, you know, I think it’s fair to say that the results of that support were felt in terms of potential spike of unemployment that we were expecting, and in fact, didn’t get, although a number of unemployed has increased and is currently running at about 750 or so, people it is not into the 1000s, which was the forecasted scenario. If we didn’t put the financial support packages in. Look, we were pretty happy with what we did last time in terms of the mirror and the salary support. That’s why they were kept in reserve if you like and we were able to turn them on. Immediately. As I said we’ll be considering as this period goes on whether or not we need to look now at turning on any other financial support to meet business needs. But as it stands, yes, we learned lessons. But there are administrative lessons, I think you will see that we will pay out very quickly once these claims start to start to come in and salary support when firms come to put their claims in at the end of the month will be paid. The first batch of payment runs will be made in that first week.
Howard Quayle 20:19
Thanks very much, Simon. We now move on to Richard Butt from Isle of Man Newspapers. Good afternoon, Richard faster my
Richard Butt 20:25
eyes to my chief minister. And you said that there was no link identified between the case identified on new z. And the case that I suppose we could say centred on the chapter spawn Ramsey? Is that still the case? Is contract testing been taking place? And then there’s still no link identify between the two instances?
Howard Quayle 20:45
Yeah, Richard, I’m a shoe to date that so far, they have found no link, it is linked to another case that a travel that they’ve been in isolation for 14 days and had come out, and members of the family had gone on to then develop the the COVID COVID-19. Obviously, tests are constantly going on lots of testing, and should that data changed. And I will, of course, update you all on that. But this is seen as no link to the original outbreak on New Year’s Eve, we’ve seen no more cases coming forward. In fact, the last cases we’ve had have all been day one tests of people that have returned to the island. So But still, it’s still too early to say I think if we get to this time next week, without any cases, then we can be a little bit more cautiously optimistic. But at this moment in time, we just really have to wait and see what happens over the coming week.
Unknown Speaker 21:41
I think that don’t leave it sadly, contact chasing on the second case will be finished over the weekend, something like that. All soon. Anyway, as context test tracing finished on the on the New Year’s Eve cases.
Howard Quayle 21:54
Right. I think it’d probably be best if I bring in Dr. year on that, too, to answer that, you know that that element of the question. Thank you, Richard Henrietta.
Henrietta Ewart 22:07
Thank you, Chief Minister, we have to distinguish between the process of contact tracing and the process of getting the test results back in. So the contact tracing has actually finished by and large in that those who have been identified as close contacts have been followed through, they’ve been put into self isolation along with their households, and they have had their initial tests. So it is actually complete in terms of contact tracing, unless any late identifications are made, in which case, they’ll also be included. But we are confident that everyone we have been able to identify has been put into self isolation, and therefore they are not out in the community potentially extending the trade chains of transmission from these cases. So far, the results we have had back have not identified any further positives, which is very good news. But obviously, we need to complete the incubation self isolation testing period, to make sure that we can completely be assured that no positives are going to emerge.
Unknown Speaker 23:16
And maybe when you select the UK press has got quite excited today about a drug called tassia lip balm map or something it says the Arthritis one. Obviously, we’ve got a big problem in our hospitals at the moment. But I’m guessing that if if cases do get worse, I’m just wondering, have we got supplies of that drug and is actually being taken on that level?
Henrietta Ewart 23:39
That’s obviously ultimately an issue for the department of health and social care who are responsible for clinical treatment that doesn’t fall under the public health remit. We have received notification through the chief medical officer and the MH ra about the use of tocilizumab in that indication, and that obviously has been shared with dhsc. So I would expect them to be factoring that into plans. It’s a drug that has been used in a number of settings, notably rheumatoid arthritis for a long time. So it’s not a new drug. It’s a repurposing of an existing drug. Thank you.
Howard Quayle 24:17
Okay. Thanks very much, much, Richard. I won’t ask you to pronounce the drug name again. It’s quite a tongue twister, wasn’t it? Right, we now move on to Alex Bell from BBC Isle of Man. Good afternoon, Alex foster my Good afternoon.
Alex Bell 24:29
And it might be helpful to get some clarification over testing figures, how many people you’re testing in the community per day as opposed to the amount of people that you’re testing and we’re returning residents.
Howard Quayle 24:40
Right. And we actually were able to clarify,
Henrietta Ewart 24:42
I can’t get precise numbers because there are obviously multiple different pathways for testing. And those include return travellers. They include people who are presenting with symptoms, and we talked about that yesterday, both in terms of asking people who are associated with the venues In the clusters to be vigilant for symptoms, but also for all of us to be vigilant for symptoms all the time, and to report any that are suggestive of COVID. As soon as we we notice them. And so just to recap those symptoms that we want people to be always on the lookout for new onset, continuous cough, fever of any grade, and any change in our sense of taste or smell. So any of us experiencing those, please contact COVID 111 as soon as possible. Obviously, those are variable numbers, we can’t say what numbers those will be on any particular day, it will vary depending on what people are experiencing. And then of course, we do continue testing for people who are awaiting a hospital procedure, people who are awaiting patient transfer people who are on key worker pathways. So those are the various different components that lead to testing. I
Howard Quayle 25:58
think it’s worth pointing out Alex that at this moment in time, I’m not aware of any delays, or cues in testing other than the standard ring up on day one, and you’ll be tested the following day that there’s there’s no backlog or anything. Thank you
Unknown Speaker 26:12
can I just rephrase that we angle that slightly so I take it and doctor you and that you’re not doing at the moment any surveillance testing in the community, surely you should be meeting the the capacity of tests you can carry out in a day with surveillance testing to make sure that you’re not missing any potential community
Henrietta Ewart 26:28
cases surveillance testing in communities with low nevermind previously no COVID-19 is not useful. There is a concept known as pretest probability. And at the moment, even though we’ve had these clusters we have currently and thankfully, no evidence of a recurrence of community transmission. So at worst, we are low prevalence, and we may please God still be no local community transmission. So the pretest probability of anyone presenting with symptoms actually having COVID is very, very low. And in that context, the issue you get is false positives. And actually, the work to carry on just unpick that and determine whether it was a true positive or a false positive doesn’t justify any potential benefit you would get from that.
Unknown Speaker 27:23
The potential benefit being that you might pick up potential cases in the community, which you don’t unnoticed,
Henrietta Ewart 27:29
you might, but potential cases in the community, even if they’re asymptomatic, are very quickly going to cause symptomatic cases, at most, probably about one third of people remain asymptomatic. Now, some of those don’t remain asymptomatic, they have symptoms, but they either don’t recognise them as COVID, or for whatever reason, they decide not to report them. Now, the issue with trying to do widespread population testing mass population testing, is that thought of people who will come forward for that tend to be people who are not at particular risk, because if they were symptomatic, they’re the sort of people who would present themselves and the people you still won’t get to through that sort of mass testing approach is the people who don’t for whatever reason, want to come forward. So there is huge debate about how useful Miss testing is, even in high prevalence areas. And certainly, as I say, in low prevalence areas, it simply is not of proven benefit. So we’re not proposing that we do it at this time.
Unknown Speaker 28:33
Thank you. And can I ask a question of the Treasury minister, please?
Howard Quayle 28:40
Unknown Speaker 28:41
Unknown Speaker 28:41
Unknown Speaker 28:42
And, Mr. Kennedy,
Unknown Speaker 28:44
why are you pushing some people into Jobseeker’s allowance when they’re in to bespoke salary schemes? They’re ready and waiting to help people.
Alf Cannan 28:52
Well, the Jobseeker’s allowance is a well there are a range of benefits for a range of circumstances. Jobseeker’s allowance will pay out pay get somebody onto the benefits system immediately the mirror will start from Monday the 11th if people are absolutely desperate for for money at this precise point, and they need to get into the benefits system immediately then then Jobseeker’s allowance is one potential avenue for them to do it. So we’re not pushing people into that route. We’re asking people actually to sign up for the mirror and the mirror will start to pay out two weeks from Monday. But if people are absolutely desperate, and there are a range of circumstances and I know it’s tough for many people, particularly this time of year, that’s just one option for them to be able to access the benefits system at at an even faster pace.
Unknown Speaker 29:43
But these are self employed people employed persons who you’re categorising as an employed and effectively giving them less money than they could be entitled to.
Alf Cannan 29:52
Sorry giving them less money than they are.
Unknown Speaker 29:54
Jobseeker’s allowance pays out a lot less than that’s necessarily true. I
Alf Cannan 29:59
That depends on a range of circumstances Alex, you know, all these, a lot of these benefits are means tested mirror is not means tested. So, you know, we are actually relying on people’s honesty in terms of the statements that they make to the government about their conditions in terms of their employment status. Jobseeker’s allowance, yes, does ask some more questions about an individual. But in fact, actually, you can get more money out of Jobseeker’s allowance, then you cannot have a mirror in certain circumstances. So they’re all adjusted to meet a set of circumstances. But let’s be let’s be clear, right, the mirror is almost a very simple access of 200 pounds based on a simple statement that you are not able to work at the present because of the restrictions that are in place. It’s quick, it’s simple. And I think a lot of people, you know, nearly 2000 people benefited from that last year. And we’ve already had quite a number of applications in and I expect probably a similar number to benefit from it over this short period. Let’s also be clear, Alex, though, we are we are working with a certain amount of uncertainty, we’ve caught a 21 day lockdown. But so far, the news is positive. And you know, certainly I will be discussing with along with the Council of Ministers, what is appropriate as we move through through this, it may be that we can start getting individuals trades and professions back at a sensible point before the 21 days if we continue to get the sort of news that we’re getting today. And that’s why this is a moving feast. And it probably wasn’t appropriate to come out with every single piece of financial support that we could we could find at this particular point until we really knew what we were dealing with. And I’ve said in my statement, and I’ll say it again. And we will be reviewing this situation from a financial support perspective next week. And we appreciate that salary support, mirror absolutely valuable critical pieces of infrastructure when it comes to providing support for our businesses and for our families and individuals. But it doesn’t necessarily meet every set of circumstances. Unless we’re things to deteriorate, then I then I think we will be looking at bringing forward something more substantial. Thank you.
Howard Quayle 32:12
Thanks very much, Alex. So now we move on to Sam Turton from Jeff the mongoose. Good afternoon, Sam faster, my mastermind, Mr. Callen,
Sam Turton 32:21
we’ve had people contact us today saying about how to different circumstances last time, they’re home and it’s dark, and it’s cold, and they happen to eat and like their homes. You’re saying it will be a review next week of financial support? Would this include families who will be seeing a drop in their income and are struggling to pay their bills?
Alf Cannan 32:40
Well, again, I mean, I would urge the point of having a Social Security system division is that people that are individuals and officers will be there to talk to families who may be finding circumstances difficult at that moment. As I’ve just said to Alex Bell, you know, the support mechanisms that we have in place, many people are familiar with them, I’m sure that many people who were accessing them last year are currently going to be either intending to or are trying to access them at present, you know, they work well, and they will pay out and our processes are efficient, if people are in trouble. If the circumstances are such that they are struggling for any reason, then they must speak to social security because there could be other benefits that may be available to them as a household or as a family. Thank you. And
Unknown Speaker 33:27
just secondly, you’ve both said about a potential review before
Unknown Speaker 33:31
we get to 21 days
Unknown Speaker 33:32
if we continue with having no evidence of community spread. What exactly could that look like?
Unknown Speaker 33:38
Let’s open to probably more Mr. quayle.
Howard Quayle 33:41
Well, I suppose really it if we have no cases, and a week goes by then we may look to say right, in the very near future, is there a possibility of based on medical advice, public health advice, to open up certain sectors to go back to work? That’s exactly what we did the last time. We didn’t just open up instantly, we did a slow turn on and then we suddenly opened up so we went from two metres to zero on the social distancing. So it really will be you know, we’ve got to see what happens for the rest of this week. Now, it’s far too early to get our hopes up. It’s promising at the moment, but we’re only two days into this with no community cases that could change. And obviously, we’ll keep you all in the loop on this one, Sam.
Unknown Speaker 34:25
Howard Quayle 34:26
Thanks very much, Sam. We now move on to rob Prichard from three FM Good afternoon Rob faster. My
Rob Pritchard 34:32
pastor, my chief minister, my first question to the Treasury minister, just with regards to the merit and salary support. For those applying for it on average, how long will people be waiting from the time they apply to actually receiving the funds.
Alf Cannan 34:45
So the first payments of Mira will be in the bank accounts by Thursday the 21st and we’ll cover the period, the 11th of January to the 24th of January and the second payment will be in accounts on the fourth of February and Cover the period 25th of January to the 31st of January. And for salary support, we will be rolling that out in the very first week of February. So I’m asking businesses to apply on the 31st of January. And we will roll that out in payment batches in the first week of February, and then pick up whatever’s left in the second week. So everything will get out as quickly as we can possibly do. So.
Rob Pritchard 35:29
Thank you. I miss my second question, again, again, to the Treasury minister. And you’ve already this week called for patience over applications for the salary support scheme, what measures have been put in place to make sure there are as few delays as possible for people applying for it to make sure they get the funds they need on time?
Alf Cannan 35:47
Well, I think, Sam, what you will, what you will find is that a lot of these businesses will have actually applied for salary support previously, so they will know what to do. Hopefully, they will have the right spreadsheets ready. And in fact, it’s actually a very simple process. Once you once you go online. As I’ve said, I’ve committed to as soon as we’ve got the payments in and I’m asking people to apply at the end of the month, once all the salaries have been put through. And we will refund the appropriate amounts, the 280 pounds accordingly. Within that first week.
Unknown Speaker 36:24
Thank you very much.
Howard Quayle 36:25
Thanks very much, Rob. Now we move on to Tim Glover from Manx radio. Good afternoon, Tim faster.
Tim Glover 36:30
My estimate. Good afternoon. Good to return to a subject that came up on Wednesday. And we didn’t get a qualification back on it. But we’ve had further examples. This is a person on advice of governments self isolating as instructors as they’re in the high risk venue, the taphouse bar in Ramsey, they work for government that being told to take annual leave. And if not that unpaid leave. Surely that’s not right. And I’ve got the COVID-19 guidelines on the management of self isolation that the government has produced. But that deals with self isolation following off Island travel. Raj is a different thing. I’m
Howard Quayle 37:11
sure you’ll agree. It is indeed and I think it had been someone who was working for government at the time. And I know that our Office of Human Resources are looking into that and working with the department and the people involved to come to a satisfactory conclusion. So the rules will be followed. It’s being worked on as as we speak. And I’m sure it’ll get sorted.
Tim Glover 37:34
But it’s not right, really sensitive to somebody who’s been doing what they’re told to do, and then being told to take annual leave. It’s not a very caring approach.
Howard Quayle 37:43
Well, that’s only if it’s true, Tim, you know, you know, we we can’t say that all one side is the truth. I’ve got to see what the other side is. First of all, before, I totally believe the first side, there could be a misunderstanding, they could be on both sides. And I sincerely hope it sorted out. As soon as possible. I know I’ve spoken to the director of HR or via email anyway. And he’s assured me that he’s dealing with it as we speak.
Tim Glover 38:10
And secondly, just returning to the variants who told we would know if we had any cases of the variant by the end of this week, we are at the end of this week, we’ve had three day warm, incoming treble positive tests in the last two days. And yet we’re at level five at the borders. So those key workers or have you still got people returning?
Howard Quayle 38:34
Well, we’ve not stopped people returning we we’ve got a number of people who’ve left the Ireland for various reasons. And then they now with the new process, which we brought in since the 23rd of December, having a test on day one and day 13. So obviously, it’s if you look at the infection rate in the United Kingdom, I suppose sadly, it’s to be expected that we will get quite a number of these day ones. That’s why we’ve been constantly saying to people, whilst we’re not stopping you from leaving the island, please really think twice before you leave the island because obviously the United Kingdom is in a serious situation when it comes to their infection rates. I haven’t we I had hoped to be advised by the end of today, whether the variant was that that we’ve had, in the latest case, whether it was the new variant that the UK is experiencing, but we haven’t had that data back. And should we get that data back over the weekend, then I will seek to have it published.
Tim Glover 39:36
That could be the South African variants and you could have had that a lot quicker. Who was an expert here on the Isle of Man that you’re not using?
Howard Quayle 39:44
Well, we’ve never had this today this test done on the Isle of Man. It’s always been dealt with by by Liverpool. And and that’s the situation I’m not prepared to continuously discuss other individuals. That’s up to the department. have health and social care to decide who they wish to use, but we’ve never used an individual on the island for the genome testing of the type the variant and that’s the situation and I don’t think health have any plans to change. Okay. Right. Next we have is Paul Bolton from Isle of Man television. Good afternoon, Paul.
Paul Moulton 40:22
I say last but not least,
Howard Quayle 40:26
Well, okay, if you want me to Mr. Paul Molson last, but certainly not least,
Paul Moulton 40:31
thank you. But on a serious note, I think a lot of people would be very concerned with that last question, disaster that weeks gone by, and we still don’t know, the variant. I mean, this can’t be totally the way that other jurisdictions are operating. Because it’s really important to your case, isn’t it? Because it is this vicious one that’s 60 70% more active. That’s why we’re in the situation we’re in, isn’t it, if it turns out not to be, you might be able to release our borders and controls a little bit earlier. This is very important information, which you don’t yet
Howard Quayle 41:02
have. Well, Paul, the the waiting time is the same waiting time as the rest of the United Kingdom have to wait, it takes four to five days to go through the processing and get it back. Liverpool had shot over the holiday period, we had hoped to get it back by the end of Friday. They didn’t look at it till Monday, because they were shot over the bank holiday and weekend period. So it is what it is. I think I’ll bring in the Director of Public Health to yet again, explain that these variants don’t make you any worse from a health point of view. They just maybe enable it for you to catch it quicker. And and therefore the processes that we’ve put in place mean that we should be absolutely fine. But I think Henrietta would maybe explain in more detail, please. Yes, thank
Henrietta Ewart 41:52
you, Chief Minister. And really, it’s a question of going over what we’ve gone through several times, I think already, which is that the genetic variant does not make any difference to the management of clusters and outbreaks, that’s still done in the way that we are doing it. And knowing the variant would make no difference to that. The variant is of interest from epidemiological perspective only. That said, there will be new knowledge accruing that may help us in the future, but that knowledge is not in existence at present. And that is, if we find out from studies across based on large numbers, that the variant seems to have different properties compared to the other forms of the virus. In terms of the time course for incubation, the length of time it takes you to be infective, the viral load that is related to effectiveness. If any of that is shown to be different from what we have experienced at present. Obviously, we will change our protocols, as well, everybody else, but at present, we have no evidence to indicate that that should be being done.
Paul Moulton 43:03
Can I ask you when you expect to know which variants we have?
Henrietta Ewart 43:07
Well, you say which variant we have, we quite probably have multiple variants in all the different positive cases we’ve had recently.
Paul Moulton 43:15
Okay, and do you know when we’re going to know exactly what we’ve got?
Henrietta Ewart 43:20
Well, we expected to get the results back with a turnaround time of five days. So we would have hoped to get some, I suppose, by close of play for the labs today. And we’re still not at close of play for labs today. So we may get something in this evening, or if not Monday,
Paul Moulton 43:38
and that’ll be released to a press release straightaway, will it not to wait till Monday.
Henrietta Ewart 43:42
That’s what the chief minister’s indicated. Thank you
Paul Moulton 43:45
Howard Quayle 43:47
Paul. And then the second part of the answer. There is a difference between the outbreak case in New Year’s Eve and the second outbreak case, on where they travelled how the infection had happened, who they had mixed with on that. And that’s why there was a difference in how we’ve handled this. This was the second outbreak was far more serious as from the mixing and where they had been rather than the first outbreak. And that’s why given the seriousness of it and where the ukessay secondary infection had come from, that the decision was to go for the circuit break. So there was a clear difference between the two outbreaks just thought I’d clarify that before you go next question.
Paul Moulton 44:29
I’m sure you’re aware what’s happening Queensland today, they they literally got the UK variants as they’re calling it and went into immediate three day lockdown because they’re so worried that you know that the transmission rate is so much higher and that’s their mini circuit breaker because of it. And I’m assuming that’s why we went to the level two straightaway because the potential was there was that mean that’s what this was about as the you the potential was we could have been with this UK variant.
Howard Quayle 44:53
Well, we went into a different stage on the 25th 23rd of December. Paul, where we insisted on people coming back having a day one test and the day 13 tests, and that was because of the increase in the infection rates in the United Kingdom, there was a significant infection rate, we took action straight away. But yeah, we will, no doubt be will be more knowledgeable on whether we have the variant. But as Dr. Yearwood has already said, it doesn’t impact on the way that we deal with the cases at this moment in time unless more data comes along, that advises us to change our policies.
Paul Moulton 45:35
And if it’s not here, can we get down to 14 days? Because he’s mentioned 14 days with definitely register the stocks in three weeks? Whatever happens?
Howard Quayle 45:41
Well, it’s 14 days if you refuse to have the day one, day six, seven and 13.
Paul Moulton 45:48
test? No, that’s 21 days, you’re locked down just would you move it down to this 14 days? If it turns out we haven’t got the new variant in the currency or any cases at all?
Howard Quayle 45:58
Well, we’ve got to review. We haven’t been a week yet. So it’s important to see what the data is. Obviously, when we’re not exactly if there’s still outbreaks in the community, whether it’s a UK variant, a South African variant, Spanish, you name it, wherever it come from, we will still wait until we’ve had the 14 day period of it not being in the community. Obviously I’ve said before, we’re not counting cases of people who’ve travelled and it’s as a result, we get a an infection from day one testing or or six, Stokes seven, or the date that teens. So it’s business as usual. Let’s see what happens over the coming week. And we can give you as much information as possible when we have a clearer picture about community spread.
Paul Moulton 46:44
So a lot of time, could this lockdown go down into 14 days? If nothing appears? That is different from what we could have? Usually, you know, was this this other one is not in our community at all. Could we just be on 14 days, all you stick to the three weeks before you make any more decisions?
Simon Richardson 47:02
Howard Quayle 47:03
I can’t say never we’ll have to wait and see Paul. I mean, I know an awful lot of people would like me to say yes, and in a fortnight’s time, if we’ve had 14 days with no cases, we’ll take the three week circuit break and finish it earlier. It may well be that we can lessen it, but really, that will be near the time dependent on advice from our medics, the capacity at our hospitals and public health. So really, it’s just too early to, you know, try I’m not gonna make promises that can’t be delivered at this moment in time.
Paul Moulton 47:35
I just asked you if that was a policy that’s already you know, some idea.
Howard Quayle 47:41
Okay. Right. Thank you very much. And thank you for those questions. Now, we do not plan on holding a briefing now until Monday. If before then there are any important updates that cannot wait. Then of course, we will let you know. Until then, thank you again for joining us and thank you for everything that you are doing. Over the past few days. There hasn’t I know been a lot of information to take in the basics as a reminder our stay at home as much as you can. If you do need to go out and wear a face covering as much as you can. If you have any symptoms, then stay at home and call 111 as soon as you can make the right decisions to keep you, your family and your Ireland safe and to protect our vaccination programme. Stay safe, be responsible. And whenever you can, please stay at home. Thank you very much.