This is a very rough and unverified transcript of the Isle of Man Government’s Coronavirus Media Briefing held on Saturday 27 February 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 for joining us today. Our weekend media briefing inevitably means that we have important news for you which cannot wait. So this is an important briefing with an opportunity to share our latest thinking. An announcement was made at lunchtime, that we currently have two confirmed positive cases, which cannot currently be linked to the current cluster. As we are unable at this stage to link either of these cases to a known transition, or transmission chain, or to each other, we must conclude that it is possible that the virus is circulating in the community, at what level we cannot be certain. That may become clearer when we have traced all the close contacts of the individuals concerned, carried out tests and received the results. That will take time, and we expect to know more within 24 hours. Now, if I could ask you to give an update from a public health perspective on this position, Dr. Ewart?
Henrietta Ewart 1:05
Thank you, Chief Minister. Yes, as as you mentioned, the key issue here is that we now have two unexplained cases which presented asymptomatically from people out in the community, and we are present cannot link them back to the transmission chains of the existing cluster. That doesn’t mean that they don’t link back. But we have to accept that we may never find the way in which they do because there is a high likelihood that there will be and will have been missing links in that chain, if you like in terms of other people who were infected by cases we know about in those transmission chains. Maybe they remained asymptomatic, or they didn’t report symptoms didn’t get tested, whatever there could be a host of reasons for that. But they will have been out there and they may have passed on infection to other people down how many steps of transmission we don’t know, before we’ve reached the point at which we’ve identified these two positive cases. Obviously, we’re doing all the usual approaches through contact tracing, which are designed to third to do two things, one to identify people who’ve been in contact during the time that these cases were likely to have been infectious, identify them, test them self isolate them, and then their contacts, particularly their household contacts. But we also do what’s known as reverse contact tracing, which is to look back further and to try and take the lines of contact, tracing out wider to see if we can identify where these cases came from, as in who gave it to them, rather than who do they give it to. Now the problem is given the incubation period of COVID. And the time it takes for most people to go from being PCR positive to negative, it’s entirely possible, we will never identify that section of the missing chain if you like. So in terms of control of the cases we’ve got now we continue to do exactly what we always do, which is to isolate them, identify their contacts, test them and then isolate them. Thank you, Chief Minister.
Howard Quayle 3:24
Thank you very much, Dr. Ewart. Now the council of ministers met this morning to discuss what action is needed in the short term. Before we have that clearer picture and an idea of the current risk level. We know that acting decisively and swiftly makes a difference. We cannot outpace the virus, but we can do our best to keep it in check. And that is what we are doing now. As many of you will have heard, we are advising all residents to stay at home for the time being as far as possible. It is very simple advice, and it will give us the best chance of reducing potential further transmission. Whilst we investigate the latest positive cases. I am aware that a number of long planned events involving many guests are planned for tonight. And there will be numerous gatherings parties, celebrations and get togethers planned across the island for today and into tomorrow, which have been much looked forward to it is a difficult ask. But we appeal to the organisers of events large and small to please postpone their events in the interests of the wider community. At this stage, we have stopped short of making this a legal requirement. It is however, our clear advice and I know that the majority of people do to attend events and the organiser organisers of them will want to do the right thing. This is we believe an agile, sensible and practical response to an unfolding situation. It is too early to say what The next steps will be, we can all imagine scenarios where further cases emerge as a result of our contact tracing, and where they do not. Speculation will not help. But the public can be assured we are watching the situation very closely indeed, and will consider options and make decisions in the best interests of our people at every stage. Council of Ministers had the views of senior officers, including our Director of Public Health this morning. making a decision that short notice is an unwelcome task. Ministers gave their views on all were considered. We are well aware of the pros and cons of any course of action. These have to be weighed, but ultimately, a decision must be made. As Chief Minister, I like to hear the bottom line with no frills. Our director of public health made it crystal clear that the latest two positive cases indicate potential transmission in the community. The one thing that government and the great Manx public have worked so hard to prevent Dr. Umar to use the analogy of a Moreland fire. When you have done your best to put it out. There is usually a period of uncertainty when it may break through again, that is where we are at present. We are on top of our contact tracing, working forwards and backwards. We are reaching and testing or close contacts of the cases without delay. Contact racing continues. We have advised the public to stay home and avoid meeting with others. Whilst we work to contain any potential spread. We will keep everyone informed as soon as we have further information. Until then, we ask for your support in following the advice given today to exercise vigilance, maintain good hygiene, and look out for others who may not be able to as you are to adapt to a rapidly changing situation. Now let’s go to questions from the media. And first we have today is Paul Moulton from Isle of Man television. Good afternoon, Paul faster. My
Paul Moulton 7:08
Good afternoon, you had your council of ministers meeting this morning, therefore you had credible information at that stage to cause the council ministers to meet. Why, again, the delay between then and I got information and put it out why the delay did not let the public know straightaway, not waiting till 120 to put a press release out for this important information so people can make up their minds how they wanted to plan their day ahead. And certainly lots of people out and about all day to day being such a nice day.
Howard Quayle 7:37
Well, you say this on a regular basis, Paul, the Council of Ministers Meeting finished at 1230. The press release went out at one o’clock or just after. So I think a 30 minute delay, whilst we write a press release is more than acceptable.
Unknown Speaker 7:52
Hang on your meeting started at some round much earlier than that. Who knew? The point the meeting started? Didn’t you know, we
Howard Quayle 7:58
knew we had two cases what we needed to discuss the context and the detail. We are meeting finished at 1230 or there abouts. And the press release was out at one or just after so I’m quite content that that’s a pretty short period of time. So your next question, Paul,
Unknown Speaker 8:14
and you said there was something asymptomatic? How do you actually find these people? How are they tested? Because they weren’t showing symptoms? Is that correct?
Howard Quayle 8:24
No, there was symptomatic.
Unknown Speaker 8:26
That was symptomatic. And are you obviously it goes back to some cases come in. So clearly, there must be some way to find out eventually, or do you think it will never be explained?
Howard Quayle 8:38
Well, I think in Dr. Your presentation just now she clearly said there may be links in the chain that we never find where someone has maybe been asymptomatic and not and not been seen to have the virus and passed it on to someone that said as we speak, our tracing teams are contacting all the people who are high risk to the two cases and have already taken swabs and we’ll we’ll be getting the results as soon as possible. That’s why until we know the data from these high risk cases, or whether they are cases or not. Once we have that data which we hope to have tomorrow, then we will be able to make a further decision and council of ministers will be meeting tomorrow morning probably once we have the latest data to see whether we need to go further or whether the precautions that we’ve put in place have been fine.
Unknown Speaker 9:31
So he said another update tomorrow. Another press briefing. Yes,
Howard Quayle 9:33
yes, I would expect to give. Well certainly we’ll definitely be having a press briefing one way or the other. Hopefully it’s good news, but we’ll have more data tomorrow. We just haven’t got it at this moment in time. Okay, next I have Richard Butt from Isle of Man newspapers. Good afternoon, Richard faster. My
Richard Butt 9:50
Fester My Chief Minister,
Unknown Speaker 9:52
I’m not long ago we went into a circuit breaker lockdown very quickly after some community transmission. Why haven’t we this time
Howard Quayle 10:00
Well, we haven’t gotten, I’m not saying we’re not going to Richard. But it’s really important that we have the data. And we just do not have the data yet to confirm whether it’s as serious as it was last time. So what we’ve done is we’ve taken the opportunity instead of waiting until Monday to hold the press conferences, to advise the people that there is a problem. And that to please refrain from having meetings until further notice. So it’s, it’s just we’re we’re being we’re taking a precaution, I think you’ve always got to learn from, you know, as much as either your own mistakes or the experiences of other jurisdictions. And if you look at our good friends and colleagues in Guernsey, they had a weekend event where they had a big dance competition. And as a result of that weekend event, they ended up with more active cases, nearly as we had cases of COVID on the island in the full 12 month period. So we’re wanting to learn from what happened elsewhere. We’re taking this precaution because we knew there was some high, not high risk, but high volume events on this weekend. And sadly, we felt we needed to ask the organisers to shut them down. I don’t know, David or doctor, you What do you want to add to that?
David Ashford 11:13
Yeah, I’ll come in if I’m a chief minister. I mean, you’re quite right, Richard. I mean, one of the things with our island community is the fact we have a very vibrant Island community. Unfortunately, this is stuck at a weekend when we know there are lots of events planned for tonight. So we’ve had to act quickly to come out and recommend to people those events don’t take place. With the last circuit break lockdown, we did exactly the same process, we waited until we had all the information off the back of the cases where we weren’t able to identify the chains of transmission or link it back to any existing known cases. And at that point, we announced a circuit breaker. We don’t have that information at present, as the chief minister said, we should have information to be able to discuss that tomorrow. But it was important with this emerging on a Saturday night, when we know that our vibrant community was holding lots of events, particularly charity events, that we got the message out there that there may be an issue, and it was important that people took precautions. So that is what we’re doing this afternoon. And any other further actions will potentially follow if required when we have the information. And I don’t know if the Director of Public Health has anything additional to add?
Henrietta Ewart 12:17
No, I think that’s covered very well. Thank you.
Howard Quayle 12:23
Richard Butt 12:24
So the moment then is advice to not go to these events. The advice, presumably, is also to not open pubs to shut shops to shut up gyms and so on. It’s just advice. It’s not compulsory, when or if we find out and of course, we got schools, presumably opening on Monday, maybe maybe not, when we’re going to get a firm decision on these things. Will it be tomorrow? Or will it hang on for a long time after that?
Howard Quayle 12:49
No, it’ll be tomorrow, Richard will have the data to decide whether we need to take further action or whether everything that the results, catching the people in time has stopped at spreading. So we’ll know tomorrow. And we’ll have obviously have a press briefing and we’ll put out news releases at the same time on that. Regarding and that will be the same for schools, the direct the Minister for Education, sport and culture has spoken to his CEO who’s spoken to head teachers. And we will let everyone know when we’ve got more information tomorrow. As I say this as a precaution. You’re quite right, Richard, this is not a legally enforceable action. This is a request by us to the great Manx public to not go out just whilst we’re learning more about the potential outbreak and it’s only a potential outbreak at this moment in time. We’ve got two unexplained cases of COVID. We know there’s an awful lot going on. We know from events and other jurisdictions where they haven’t taken the sort of action, they’ve ended up with hundreds of cases, because it’s mushroomed out of control. And we just think that this is a sensible precaution to take whilst we get more data coming through tomorrow. So yes, we’re asking, obviously shops, people that still need to go out and get food etc. But we are asking if if people know the rules, they know how to be sensible. We’ve been doing this for a while now we’re in the good position. We are because people have been sensible. So we’re just asking people to please refrain from going out tonight and into tomorrow till we get the data that we need to give you the advice that we want to give you one way or the other. I don’t know David, if you want to add it. I
David Ashford 14:27
think you summed that up very nicely, Chief Minister.
Howard Quayle 14:30
Okay. Thanks very much, Richard. Next we have is Josh Stokes from ITV, Granada. Good afternoon, Josh Foster, my
Josh Stokes 14:36
beltane Chief Minister, my first Friends of the health minister, please. For those who may now be incredibly worried about receiving their vaccination in the coming weeks, what’s your message to them at this stage?
David Ashford 14:48
The message is Josh that we will always take any precautions that the health professionals deem necessary to ensure that the vaccination programme is safe. We have measures in place we may remember we carried on with the vaccination programme during the circuit break lockdown, we the whole thing is set up. And it was one of the reasons for creating the Chester street hub. So that if we did have to put measures in place, we could do so and still get this report. I would urge anyone who has a vaccination appointment book to still attend that appointment. If anything, it is absolutely crucial that we continue with the rollout of the vaccine, and that people do turn up for their vaccinations when booked.
Josh Stokes 15:26
Thank you My second question, this will obviously come as quite a shock for those who may now be shielding and those who will have cautiously been wearing face coverings over the last few weeks while we’ve been out of lockdown. What’s your stance on face coverings? Now for those who do go out?
Howard Quayle 15:39
Well, there’s a moment in time it’s up to individual preference, where we’re not making it mandatory. We are just recommending that people were possible stay at home and don’t go out certainly don’t go out to other people’s houses or, or shows or large gatherings. If you just stay at home until tomorrow when we’ve got the data then to give you the advice that we want to give you now but we just don’t have the data to back that up at this moment in time. We just think it’s a precaution. If people want to wear masks, that’s absolutely fine. That’s their decision. But we’re not making it mandatory at this moment in time.
Josh Stokes 16:11
Howard Quayle 16:13
Thanks very much, Josh. Now we’ll move on to rob Pritchard from three FM Good afternoon, Rob faster, my
Unknown Speaker 16:19
customise the administer another thing that you didn’t mention in your previous statements also around social distancing? What are your
Unknown Speaker 16:25
suggestions or rules around that right now?
Howard Quayle 16:27
Okay, I’ll hand over to Dr. Ewart.
Henrietta Ewart 16:30
Yes, again, we’re not recommending a mandated return to social distancing. But obviously, people can apply that avoid situations that are crowded use face coverings, and so on. I think where we are with this is absolutely in line with the response levels, one has to assess the level of risk and decide what the response across the island needs to be for that. And you’ll see that that’s done in other jurisdictions where there have been zero COVID policies, and then cases have arisen. And interestingly enough, looking at our peers in that group, which is a very small group. Guernsey, as you all know, continues to have sporadic community cases that they can’t link to chains of transmission, although their overall numbers are coming down. They’re still in lockdown. New Zealand, which now has an outbreak of community cases, which I think is up to 12 now is going into a level three response in Auckland tomorrow with level two for the rest of the islands. And obviously, you can look on the respective websites of those jurisdictions to find out the details. So you’ll see that in both those cases, and in ours, response needs to be nuanced to match circumstances. And obviously, those circumstances can change. And, you know, we can’t deny that that may be the case. And we may find more cases, which indicate that we do need to escalate the response levels. But it’s not dichotomous, it’s not from COVID, free, no restrictions whatsoever, immediately to full lockdown, we have to take a call on that our government has to take a call on that. It’s not an exact science. And there is no crystal ball. That means anyone can get it right all the time. And we have to be prepared to change approaches as the data change. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 18:28
Unknown Speaker 18:30
My second question, when can we expect a list of low or high risk locations to be issued?
Howard Quayle 18:36
Right? Well, at the moment in time, the team are obviously working on data of people. If people come back as negative from the high risks, then obviously there won’t be the problem, but that that’s being worked on at this moment in time. If we can get it to you before the briefing that we do tomorrow, then of course we will. But at this moment in time, I haven’t got that luck that list, the contact tracing team are busy correlating all the information for us for our meeting tomorrow. Unless, David, you’ve heard anything or don’t do it.
David Ashford 19:05
Yeah, I can just say it does take time well, because we have to assess venues as to whether they are low risk or high risk. We also have to complete the contact tracing to see if people are returning positive, we will get the list out as we always do as quickly as possible. But it has to be done in a proper, methodical manner, so that what we are giving out to the public is accurate and not just rushed. And with that I’ll bring in the director for public health. She’s got anything to add is Thank you, Minister.
Henrietta Ewart 19:33
That’s absolutely the case. As I think I’ve said previously on these break briefings, contact tracing is actually an art and a science. And we are very lucky in having a highly experienced team of contact tracers who are extremely good at eliciting the full context of where people have been when they were there. But also what were they doing there? What were they doing in relation to other people that were there. I’ve given the example four of you know, a case in a pub, if they go in, buy a pint, sit in a corner on their own nursing the pint for an hour, actually, the risk to other people in that venue is very low. If they were out there mixing and mingling, talking to everybody joining in the karaoke, the risk is different. So it’s not necessarily quick to define whether something is a high risk or low risk venue. And you might even have an issue where you actually split a venue, you know, if you were in this bit at this time, then it’s higher risk, that bit lower risk. So this is something contact traces do as a team, and they do it with myself and my health protection colleague from public health. They come back with the information they’ve got, and we discuss it, we interrogate it, we suggest whether there are other questions that need to be asked to the cases. And then after we’ve done all of that, we’re much clearer on the level of risk in the different venues. Thank you.
Howard Quayle 20:58
And thanks very much for that, Rob. Now we move on to Tim Glover from Manx radio. Good afternoon, Tim faster. My
Tim Glover 21:04
estimate Chief Minister, health minister and Director of Public Health, we’ve been inundated with emails and correspondence, as you can imagine, there seems to be quite a lot of anger out in the public this time around and fear. One example if the days we’ve been told that silence in the Cabinet Office except messages, everything is normal, no need to worry. What do you what do you say to people who are saying that governments hasn’t been putting out the right messages. And then all of a sudden, the inevitable as many people who’ve seen it is here, there’s the risk, frustration and anger out there?
Howard Quayle 21:40
Well, I can imagine this frustration, anger, I can’t understand because we had no cases. And in the previous update, all the cases we were having before was it was going in the right direction, it was all people who were being deemed as high risk, they were already in isolation. And the situation was under control. Now, we’ve come along literally, today and been advised that there are two active cases that cannot be traced, that’s a totally different situation. And it would appear to have nothing whatsoever to do with the Isle of Man steam packet company spread. So this is something totally different. It’s only just happened. And obviously I know people will be concerned, I’m worried and we’re doing our utmost to keep it under control. But we’ve told the public everything that we know, straight away from from when we found out and we’ve got as much information for them. We’ve gone out today, and we’ll do exactly the same tomorrow, hopefully with far more information once we’ve got data back.
Tim Glover 22:39
Second question is to the Health Minister and I have brought this up privately with him. We had a friend who was tested yesterday around lunchtime and got their results at 130 this morning. Yet the figures that were at least at four o’clock said no one was waiting for a test. And yesterday’s figures. You mentioned accurate information and the facts. It was saying no testing led to people going to social media to say well, actually there are positive cases. Could you just explain how those figures are compiled? And why they didn’t appear to be quite right yesterday?
David Ashford 23:17
Yeah, I’m happy to do so. I mean, the figures work or act for the snapshot time taken. And the figures were not incorrect. What actually happens and I have explained this briefing before, is it is a snapshot of the daily figures we gave. And what we put up on the website is a snapshot in time. The
Unknown Speaker 23:34
when is that time
David Ashford 23:35
that time? Well, that’s what I’m just going to go into Tim, if you give me a second, the way it works is the lab updates the actual figures once a day to the front facing portal, which is where those are captured from. It’s a manual process for the lab to do it. So it can’t be done in real time. They do that once a day when they have the capacity to be able to do so. So that timeframe can be anything from 10am in the morning, till half, three in the afternoon. And that will then give you the daily figures. So for instance, yesterday, if that snapshot was produced by the lab at 11am, that person wouldn’t yet have actually come forward to be tested. So it would show zero people awaiting test. There’s no other way of doing it, we can’t shove lab resource into producing real time lab results. If we were to do that we would actually affect what people want our lab people to be doing, which is actually processing COVID tests and finding out any situation that we might have. I have explained this before. So we’ll always those daily figures will always be a snapshot in time. So people should not get fascinated with the people awaiting tests or awaiting results figure that is the figure from whenever that snapshot was taken. And that will always be the case support. Obviously, if anything if that snapshot say was taken at 10am and then people who were tested at 12, etc. They would roll into the next day’s figures when the next snapshot is taken.
Unknown Speaker 24:57
Would it be useful to put what the time is on that snapshots on the fingers so that people can then calm down a little bit. In some cases, it’s
David Ashford 25:06
not always easy to do, Tim and I have access to the front facing portal. So I see it when it goes up. And it’s not always as simple as that as to just show the time on it. Because sometimes if the lab does have capacity, it can be updated multiple times in a day. But generally, in most cases, it is just once a day those figures are updated, what people shouldn’t say, like I say, Well, it’s interesting statistical information to have. People shouldn’t get weighed down and fascinated with those figures around awaiting results, or people waiting to be tested.
Howard Quayle 25:39
Thanks very much, Tim for that. Next we’ll move on to Alex bailed from BBC Ireland, man. Good afternoon, Alex.
Unknown Speaker 25:46
Unknown Speaker 25:47
and simply our hospitality business owners, and many of the business owners today have told me that they need clear guidance, can they stay open? Or should they close?
Howard Quayle 25:58
Well, we are asking them to to close, we’re not saying they must. It’s not a legal requirement, we will be reviewing the data tomorrow, to decide whether we need to make it a legal requirement or not. We’re just saying, there’s a lot of events on at this moment in time, the advice is for all people to stay at home, not to go to one another’s houses not to go out to pubs or nightclubs or parties, because there may be spread in the community. And by staying at home, you are doing your better and helping the island come through this period of COVID-19. So we’re not saying clubs must were highly recommending it. But tomorrow, we may insist legally, that they will have to do that. Then equally, we may get data that says we don’t need to enforce that. Why give them a choice in the meantime, because the legal drafting has to be done to an extend tallix we do not know the data. So if I go out and legally enforce at a time to get the team to do all the legal drafting, it’s such short notice would be nigh on impossible. b we haven’t got the data yet. So we’re saying the advice from our experts is that people should stay at home whilst we’re getting more data. But as I say tomorrow, I’ll give you all another briefing with far more of an understanding about how the high risks contacts of the two people who who have caught us out effectively, what the results are with them whether there is an issue in the community, or whether it’s just being caught in time. But so as I say it’s not a legal responsibility. If they choose to open tonight, legally, we will not be prosecuting them. We’re just asking people not to go out tonight until we know the circumstances of these latest two cases. I don’t know if I’ve explained myself clear enough whether David or Dr. You’re what you want to expand on. Yeah,
David Ashford 27:45
Alex, I mean, we’re looking at the clock that’s in front of me, we’re just approaching half, three. Now, if we were this afternoon to get the Attorney General’s chambers to draft a law, which we would then have to rush in which we might be changing tomorrow, depending upon what the data tells us. I don’t think that’s a sensible approach. I think what we have to do is trust the Manx public here, the Manx public has been highly responsible throughout the whole of the COVID-19 period, which is coming up to 12 months now. I would we are urging hospitality venues for tonight for the safety of what would be their patrons to close for the one night while we find out what the situation is. And to be quite frank, and certainly from the response. I’ve heard from people and seen on social media before coming into this briefing. I don’t think there’ll be many people out and about tonight anyway. So I don’t think there’ll be much costume out there for those premises.
Howard Quayle 28:34
As I’ve already said, Alex, this is something that happened to our good friends and colleagues in Guernsey where they had a dance festival. And whilst they shut down, these big of that big event had caused a number of cases so great that they were facing active cases, which amounted to the same number roughly that we’d had in the full 12 months. So by asking people to stay at home now it’s you can say it’s an insurance policy. We’re just waiting till we find out the detail. And then we’ll give you a more of an update tomorrow with more from a more knowledgeable position on what the way needs to be going forward. Whether it’s easier or tougher, we will be able to let you know tomorrow. It’s purely as a precaution. But I hope everyone will say it’s a sensible precaution. The last thing we want us to say, well, don’t shut until we get the data tomorrow. And by which case, We’re shutting the door after the horses bolted.
Unknown Speaker 29:27
Thank you minister.
Unknown Speaker 29:28
He just said to me a moment ago there that we’ve been caught out by two cases. Indeed, earlier in the press conference, you said that we can’t outpace the virus. Isn’t this exactly what your administration has been trying to do for the last two weeks? Has contact tracing failed here or is the policy failed?
Howard Quayle 29:46
No. I mean, we well, I said caught out. We’ve been caught with two cases that we didn’t know anything about Alex. I mean, no system first and foremost, no system. It can, you know is perfect. So I’ll put that I’m not trying to Make out that our contact tracing team and all the procedures we put in place are all perfect. I like to think that the record that our team across the board, if you compare it with the rest of the world is probably second to none. But we have two unexplained cases. We don’t know yet where they’ve come from. And it may well be that there is a link back to the original case, or may well be that we’ll never know where they’ve come from. But we should have a greater knowledge tomorrow about what those two risks presents to, to the public. I’ve done I’ve got to you at all. David, if you want to expand on that,
David Ashford 30:35
yeah, if I can just come in first Chief Minister, I mean, we’re dealing Alex with an invisible phone. We’ve said throughout the pandemic, and I’ve certainly stressed that cases will always pop out or pop up, because there will always be the case, particularly where people can be asymptomatic. That as Dr. uite has explained on several occasions, you may not have that, that blue line of transmission, we don’t know. And it doesn’t look at the moment like these are linked to the cluster. So to be fair, if they’re not linked to the cluster, it wouldn’t matter how much contract tracing you did on that particular cluster, you would not come up with the links for these two particular cases, we will always have those sort of cases emerging while we’re in a pandemic. And what is important is that the contact tracing process, go act swiftly, which it is doing to look for look to where people have been, and isolating the appropriate people, we have the mitigation measures in place that have served us well, for 12 months. As Dr. You it says we have a highly experienced team in contact tracing. In fact, I will say as Minister for health and social care, I’m incredibly proud of the team that we have. And to be frank 12 months ago, they were learning on the job, no one had really ever had to do this before. And I think we’ve got a world class team in place, and they will do their job. And that will then allow us to try and control this, we are never going to outpace survivors, what we have always tried to do is keep up with it. And that’s exactly what we’re doing via the contact tracing process. And I’ll hand over to the Director of Public Health. Yes, I
Henrietta Ewart 32:04
mean, very little to add there other than to say that this may, these take cases, one or both may be linked to the cluster that originated with the steam packet. And as we’ve said several times already in this briefing, we may never know because there may well be missing links in that chain who are out there spread it and and are negative. And even if we did mass testing, we would never find them. So we have to accept that. And whilst we look to find the reverse tracing and find where things come from, we also have to very much focus on stopping it going anywhere further forward. And ultimately, of course, contact tracing is highly dependent on what cases and contacts tell them. And there are limitations in that either because people forget the details of where they’ve been and who they were with. Or for some reason. They actually don’t want to divulge things for whatever reason. So this is not as I said before an exact or perfectible science. Thank you.
Howard Quayle 33:07
Okay. Thanks very much, Alex. Right. Next we have And last but not least, I should say is Sam Turton from Jeff. Good afternoon, Sam faster. My
Sam Turton 33:18
mastermind, Chief Minister, we’ve had a question from business owners. We’re going on here. Obviously, this is for many people that pay weekend. It’s the business weekend that happened this month, and they had a bit of a rough January. They’re asking if while they’re just being advised to close, if they do close, will there be financial support for them and their staff? Or is it a case of the decision is up to you? So the financial implications are sort of term as well?
Howard Quayle 33:42
Yeah, it’s a good question, Sam, at the moment, it’s a precaution. It’s just for today and tomorrow know if that extends, or we decide we need a formal lockdown of some sort, then yes, we will be considering financial support, as we’ve already done on the income economic policy review committee led by the Treasury minister, and the Minister for enterprise, we’ll be reviewing the situation as it develops. But equally for one potential day, we can’t go paying out, you know that this tax, this is your money, the taxpayer. And if we were to pay off just for one day, there’ll be nothing left and a very short period of time. So we’ve tried to kind of try and get the balance right here. But if if this carries on, then of course, we will have to look at giving support to business.
Sam Turton 34:26
Thank you. And just secondly, for administrators for Dr. You in terms of the vaccine roll obviously made the decision to move one of the vaccines for the back and we said to be a announcement on how the new timetable was going to be how much closer are we to that? Because obviously we’ve this naturally, people have contacted us saying they are quite concerned but when they’ll be getting their first dose.
David Ashford 34:45
Yeah, I can actually give you the answer to that. Now, some apologies. I thought we already had a previous briefing, but just in case I didn’t. The move and the dose back doesn’t radically change the timetable. What it does is it moves the first doses forward by about two weeks. So it’s about it’s about a two week period of advances the timetable. So for instance, on the current schedule, we would expect all those over the age of 50 to have received their first dose by the 19th of April.
Sam Turton 35:14
Howard Quayle 35:15
Okay. Thanks very much, Simon. Thank you all for your questions. Now, I know many of you will be concerned on these developments. And we are asking everyone to be sensible and take what precautions you can. It will be unsettling for many, and I do want to assure the general public that the overall risk remains low. And this advice today is as a precaution. If you know of anyone that is unsettled by this news, just maybe give them a telephone call to check there, okay. There’s absolutely no need to panic. And as I’ve said before, there will be plenty of food and provisions in our stores. So there is no need for people to rush out and purchase any more than they ordinarily need. Please take care and be kind to each other. Thank you all very much for joining us today. Bye bye.