This is a very rough and unverified transcript of the Isle of Man Government’s Coronavirus Media Briefing held on Thursday 4 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.
David Ashford 0:00
Good afternoon, everyone. The Chief Minister is undertaking all the duties this afternoon. So alongside myself, I’m delighted to be joined at the podium by the Director of Public Health Dr. Maria hamriyah. To you. Before I get started, I would like to share with you today’s figures, the total tests undertaken stands at 28,638. The total number of tests concluded stands at 28,583, meaning we are awaiting the results of 53 tests. No new cases have been identified in the last 24 hours. So the total number of cases remains at 434. And we currently have eight active cases. Today marks 23 days since our last identified case of community spread. And also four days since we have been able to exit our circuit breaker lockdown, and restore much of our society back to the life we had in December. So I’d like to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of you for sticking to the rules, and allowing our island once again, to push back against this dreadful debilitating virus, you should all rightly be proud of what we have a community has achieved not once, but twice over the last 12 months. This gives me an opportunity to pass over to the director for public health, for a brief update on our current situation over to your doctor.
Henrietta Ewart 1:22
Thank you minister, there’s not really very much to add other than, you know, just to reiterate that we have only eight active cases on an island, no community cases for 23 days. And actually everything is looking very good, so long as we keep the borders secure. And on that note, I just like to share with you the results of the genomic sequencing, which have shown us that so far, we have had five cases of the UK new variants, sometimes also known as the Kent variant that have come on Island, and one case of the South African variant. Now those were all identified in travellers, and they were all contained to the self isolation and testing regimes. So I just need to reiterate yet again, that anybody who is under a direction notice for whatever reason, particularly as a traveller, it really is imperative that they obey that to the letter, because we really do not want to get community spread of any COVID-19 but particularly not have any of the new variants. Were on the home Woods straight now with the rollout of the vaccination programme, and the accruing evidence about the effectiveness of the vaccines in both preventing serious illness and probably preventing transmission. So we really do not want to receive community transmission. Thank you.
David Ashford 2:46
Thank you, Dr. Ewart. And leading directly on from that it does have to however, be recognised that not everything is still what we would in different Times described as normal. We still have border restrictions in place around who can enter a wall and community and self isolation requirements for those returning. It is important to emphasise that those restrictions remain in place. People must follow the direction notice they are issued on entering or returning to the island, and anyone who does not do so is committing a criminal offence. Despite us returning to some semblance of normality, the self isolation rules continue to operate as they did during the circuit breaker or lesson exemption has been granted in a traveler’s exemption notice they must isolate alone, or with a person they have travelled with. For the avoidance of doubt, you cannot stay at an address with any other people who have not travelled with you. If other members of your family are at the address and have not travelled, you must isolate away from home for your period of isolation. This is monitored and enforced, and any breaches will lead to arrest and prosecution. We know that this measure is taught for many, but it is there to protect our island community. Our borders are our greatest weapon, but also our greatest weakness. As the Director of Public Health has said on many previous occasions, we are only as safe as the last person across the border. As we look around the world at the situation in many other jurisdictions, it is clear that when it comes to spreading of this virus, it only takes one person to decide to deviate from those rules to cause a widespread outbreak. The measures are there to protect our community and allow us to maintain the enviable position of having and exercising personal freedoms that other nations cannot currently enjoy. So please, if you are returning to the island after travel, stick to the rules, no matter how difficult it may be. It not only protects our community as a whole, but also your own loved ones at home. From protecting prevent a potential potential infection and spread. None of us know how this virus will affect us until we contract it, and by then it is too late. So please stick to the rules and help our island community stay safe. Turning to the vaccination programme, the vaccination programme continues to roll out at a pace. And as of 330. This afternoon, we have completed 7900 and 21st dose vaccines
David Ashford 5:29
and 2183 second dose vaccines, a total of 10,103 vaccines delivered. We have now vaccinated 79% of all residents in care homes and their carers 67% of all the over 80s and health care workers and letters have now started to go out inviting those over the age of 75 for their vaccinations. I’ve mentioned here at this podium before that this is a huge logistical challenge and the biggest vaccination rollout in human history. We continue to receive our regular supplies of vaccine from the UK stock on a per head of population basis. And we will continue to vaccinate as the rate of supply allows us. As has previously been said this will differ over time, as the rate of supply is not a consistent amount each week, as the manufacturers have to produce and then distribute these vaccines from scratch. So the supply of vaccine available for us to order will differ week by week. We are expecting there to be some short term disruption in coming weeks with the five so vaccine supply as five selects to expand its Belgium plants production capacity. But this will not hold our vaccine rollout. As we have in stock all the required second doses for those who have already had the face of vaccine, and we will be continuing at a pace with available supplies of Oxford AstraZeneca. As a nation, we are heading in the right direction and should be proud of the hard work being undertaken by all our frontline workers to keep our island safe. And it is portals in the top 10% of nations around the world for vaccination rollout. So I’d like to take the opportunity to say thank you to all those involved in the vaccination programme, all of whom are working tirelessly to give us the protection we need to defeat this dreadful virus. Sticking with thank yous, I would like to say a huge thank you to the Manx breast cancer support group who has funded a COVID-19 leaflet for patient transfers. It is full of useless advice, useful advice on the rules and the system to stick to while in the United Kingdom during the pandemic. It also highlights sources of information and help and will be offered to all patient transfers travelling for treatment. So thank you to Manx breast cancer support for your continuing help and support. And now we turn to questions from the media. And first off today from Parliament television. I have Paul Moulton on just before you ask your question, Paul, I believe congratulations. Maybe an order was at your birthday yesterday, if I’m right.
Paul Moulton 8:09
Thank you. You were invited for a drink on social distancing area, but I didn’t see you there. But
David Ashford 8:14
I obviously haven’t seen the email.
Paul Moulton 8:18
Thank you for somewhere.
David Ashford 8:19
It’s somewhere in the backlog. But Happy birthday, Paul,
Paul Moulton 8:21
thank you very much. And it was the envy actually, the pictures like that go around the world. And people just come at you back home. Wow, this is an amazing situation, you must be getting so much press as well. It’s been quite timely. Oh man, hasn’t it?
David Ashford 8:34
It has indeed. I mean, the response globally, to the wire, the Isle of Man is has been absolutely phenomenal. Media from all around the world. I think the chief minister today has been speaking to Australian and Canadian media around the situation here in the islands. So everyone on the island should be very proud of what they’ve achieved. And it’s getting international recognition for our small community.
Paul Moulton 8:57
And I heard you on LBC, which is my stations listen to normally anyway, the question, Lance, it’s had quite a big thing about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 dose rate. And it’s sort of backing out what the UK is saying about actually making the pause between the first and the second dose longer is actually proving to be actually a useful thing to do your thoughts because you just say that you may have points where you’re going to be not getting the amount of vaccine you want in any sort of changes may be having to be looked at if that is the case, knowing that this does work.
David Ashford 9:30
Well, I’ll give the layman’s view, first of all, and then I’ll pass it to the Director of Public Health to give the professional view and from a layman’s point of view. We assess all the evidence that’s put before us. And we continue to continually assess everything including the new report that is out. There is evidence from this report that they’re having a 12 week dose doesn’t affect Felicity. But there has also been notes of caution sound at around us as well, from certain scientists who’ve said that when you look at the sample The report used particularly around the age, the sex of the people involved, and the ethnicity, it wasn’t necessarily a full widespread sample, but it is looking positive. We will obviously review as we always do at the moment, we are still sticking with the 21 days for the second dose. But if the clinical advice is that we should go longer than that, then that is what the HSC will follow. But our posse of the Director of Public Health, who can give you a much more technical explanation that I can,
Henrietta Ewart 10:30
yes, the Lancet paper is, of course, a preprint, which means it hasn’t yet been peer reviewed. And clearly, it needs that to really test the data. And look at all the strengths and the limitations there have, which often appear different to people who are not the research team that published then to the actual researchers. But in fact, the the findings from that study do look extremely encouraging, they followed up the same cohorts as we’re in the initial phase three trials. So it is full data, which is good. And it does certainly seem to indicate that efficacy is at least as good with a 12 week delay and maybe better. And there may be reasons for that, based on what we know, and what jcvi took into account, when they made their original assessment that we know from other vaccines, that often a longer interval leads to better response than a shorter one. So that wouldn’t actually be to be unexpected. The other thing that is extremely interesting out of that paper, is that they not only followed up the original cohort, on exactly the same basis as they had in the trial, which is to say that people either had the vaccine or the dummy vaccine, the control vaccine, which was actually a meningitis vaccine, and then those people were sort of let be, if you like, with the proviso that should they develop symptoms, they were to report and they were then tested. So the follow up of those people depends on them developing symptoms, and that is the data that is shown us and is now confirmed that people who have the vaccine are protected from serious illness. However, what they have now done with the UK cohort that was in that trial, they actually not only waited for people to present with symptoms, they actually did weekly tests on everybody, regardless of whether or not they had symptoms. And that is the data that is showing strong indications that this vaccine actually prevents infection or reduces infection. And if it reduces infection, it will reduce transmission. So that’s an extremely positive finding, which obviously we hope will be borne out in in wider data in longer follow up.
Paul Moulton 12:54
And 17,700 people a good amount of people do for this sort of testing, you know, for data. Yes, yes.
Henrietta Ewart 13:03
Phase Three trial will have had a lot of statistical analysis to determine the sample size, there are some statistical techniques you use to show how many you need in your sample, in order to show a valid result set will all have been calculated before the protocol was even agreed and the trial started, run.
Paul Moulton 13:25
Another question that is about mixing and matching the vaccines now that seems to be coming back into the potential ideas that you don’t need to keep with the same one. We doing what and what will your thoughts be on this?
David Ashford 13:36
Well, again, I’ll hand over to Director of Public Health in a moment for the more technical answer, we are sticking with giving people the second dose of the same vaccine they’ve had. It’s very early days in the trials that they’ve undertaken in the UK, they’ve literally just started the trials to see what the effect is of mixing and matching. We believe at the moment the safest and best point of view, from a clinical point of view, is to keep to the same vaccine that people have had. The trial data may show different when it comes out. But as with everything in this pandemic, that takes time to come through. And it may be a substantial amount of time yet. So we have formal evidence on that. And I’ll hand over to Dr. Europe.
Henrietta Ewart 14:12
Yes, that the minister is absolutely right, we’re certainly not at the point of moving to any change in that direction ourselves. The vaccines are not currently authorised for that mixing and matching and the evidence for them is not there. Interestingly, there are really two reasons why this is of interest. One is to actually help with supply issues. Because if you’re not constrained by having to have the second dose of exactly the same, you can be more flexible in how you use your vaccine and roll out your programme. So that’s one thing and obviously in the face of a pandemic. That’s quite important. But the other thing is that there are actually some quite strong theoretical reasons why you might get a better response, better efficacy from Mix and match approach, but that is hypothetical at the moment and needs to be tested with the data. So exactly as the minister says we need to wait for those studies to be done.
David Ashford 15:12
Next up, I’ve got Helena Alamein newspapers. Good afternoon. Hello.
Helen McKenna 15:16
Good afternoon. Firstly, how our government keeping track of side effects from vaccines and will this information be publicly available?
David Ashford 15:25
Yep. So we have the yellow card system. In relation to anyone who has any severe effects, and side effects, we will expect people generally to have the normal side effects, which is a sort of on potential flu like symptoms, most of which pass after 24 hours after having had your second dose that is normal. In terms of any serious side effects. My understanding from speaking to the chief executive as as late as last late last night, is we haven’t had anyone who’s had a serious reaction directly linked to the vaccine. But though we do have reporting procedures in place, as for how those reporting procedures will filter through our Passover to Director of Public Health,
Henrietta Ewart 16:05
yes, I mean, we feed into the yellow card system, which is UK wide. It’s run by the MH ra which is the regulatory body which authorised the vaccines and obviously regulates and authorises all medicines, we would not expect to get disaggregated Isle of Man data back, because that’s not how the system works. And it’s important to understand that is actually a good thing, because you need a big population to make this meaningful. With a small population, you could apparently get either more side effects or fewer, purely by chance. And so, you know, a small population base for the reporting of these things isn’t actually useful and could cause you to misinterpret things one way or the other.
Helen McKenna 16:54
Okay, thank you. Secondly, when will government expect to announce sorry, the priority categories, the next phase of the vaccination programme the next priority categories?
David Ashford 17:08
Yep. So phase one, as we as people will know, halon is for anyone over the age of 50. And in the vulnerable category, we expect to have the vaccinations completed towards the end of May for those categories. phase two, then at the moment has not been set by the JC VI, which we follow. I believe the JC VI is supposed to be making recommendations in this area in the next couple of weeks. And as soon as we have those recommendations from the JC VI, they will be discussed clinically over here. And then as quickly as we can, we will get the rollout out to the public. But the JC vi hasn’t made the decision yet around the phase two rollout that is expected within the next 14 days or so I’m advised. Okay. Okay, next up, I’ve got Alex Bell from BBC Alabama.
Unknown Speaker 17:53
We’d love to know,
Unknown Speaker 17:54
there’s been some significant positive press attention focused on the other man this week. The may well, some have predicted the potential influx of people seeking to relocate permanently here.
Unknown Speaker 18:06
What is the policy on people moving to the Isle of Man?
Unknown Speaker 18:08
Will it be tightened if there is a sudden surge in applications?
David Ashford 18:11
Well, I think we I think we have a very tight policy as it is Alex people who’ve got contractual obligations. So if they are purchasing houses, or rented to move in, they can do so. But they still have to follow the isolation standard. The Ottoman government has never made a secret of the fact that longer term we want to grow the population. I think the likelihood of massive amounts of people wanting to relocate in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, I think is probably quite low. I think most people will be staying put for the period of the pandemic. But if after that people wish to relocate to the Isle of Man and make that their home, then they are welcome. The Alamin community has always been very welcoming to people of communities all around the world. And I would hope that anyone who wanted to move here would receive a very warm welcome. We know our island is a lovely place to live and work. I suppose I’ve spent most of my life living on our islands, apart from the brief period where I went to university and I worked in the UK. And I think it’s a great place to live. And I’d be delighted if people wanted to make our Ireland their home.
Unknown Speaker 19:12
Unknown Speaker 19:13
And just as a follow up question, is there any firm dates for the upcoming vaccination centres on the other plan
Unknown Speaker 19:21
any any updates on those?
David Ashford 19:22
So Chester Street. So the Shastri tobe, we hope will be online potentially the third week of February. So the third week of this month, we’re hoping that we’ll have Chester street up and running as a replacement for Newlands, the, the what we’re terming a northern hope, but again, I need to clarify will be pop up clinics in the north of the island. So will be delivered hopefully by primary care that will require and be dependent upon our negotiations with the GPS as to what they are able to deliver or willing to deliver. And that will be the very end of February.
Unknown Speaker 19:55
David Ashford 19:56
Next up, I’ve got some art Jeff
Sam Turton 20:00
As my minister, we’ve had both parents and students contact us about what happened for university students who are people who aren’t aware when you go to university in England, they recommend you register with a local GP. And when that happens, you get d registered on Ireland. They’re not certain what will happen with them regarding the vaccine, because obviously a lot of them have now stayed on the island instead of going to the UK. And they’re just a bit concerned about when it comes to that term. Will they be expected to get onto the UK list? Or will they be added back onto the Alabama’s lists?
David Ashford 20:31
Well, I have I have asked questions about this. Interestingly, for someone who contacted me, now my understanding in relation to the vaccine is the students will potentially have access to either or, if they are on Island, they will when it gets to their turn, depending upon what the situation is, because most students won’t fall into the priority groups we’re doing at the moment, they’ll be in phase two, apart from those that might have vulnerabilities. And they they will actually potentially have to register here with a GP, what normally happens, some of the going to university is not that they get d registered as such, they get listed as a temporary resident over here. And they because you can only be registered as a full resident at one GP. But we have a way via the Department of Education, sport and culture of capturing the most of those students who are going to university. And if necessary, we can set up a registration system on Ireland to be able to capture them when it becomes their term. But they are the vast bulk of those will be the very last sort of cohorts to be vaccinated because their age profile other than as I say those that will fall in the vulnerable category, so there will be a mechanism in place. But my understanding is monk students in the UK are able to access the UK vaccination programme as well, from the inquiries that are made.
Sam Turton 21:45
Just secondly, in terms of the vaccine rollout, Have we got any further down the line towards an age that the vaccines will be sort of up and down in terms of delivery? and beyond to that we are currently getting on? Do we have any update about where the process is towards the UK given the go ahead and when we made them see them?
David Ashford 22:04
So the only the only other one that’s currently Authorised by the UK is a madona. And in relation to madona, they’re not expecting supplies until the spring. The other vaccines which we’ve been hearing very exciting press stories about over the last week or so, like no Novavax, they are that is still up in the air. So it’s not known when the UK received those doses. There’s been everything stipulated from statements I’ve heard in the House of Commons to summertime to all the statements say in at the end of the year. So in terms of that it’s really up in the air, but I’ll pass over to Director of Public Health in case she’s got anything I don’t know.
Henrietta Ewart 22:40
Yes, that’s absolutely right. We don’t know what do we got so far as the published trial data for those two vaccines, the Novavax and the Jensen’s, which is Johnson and Johnson, but they haven’t been through the MH era, so they haven’t been given authorization yet. And obviously, once that happens, there’s all the issues about rolling out the paperwork, the protocols, the liability, etc. And of course, understanding what the supply chain and timeline is going to look like. So I think yes, it’s going to be certainly summer at the earliest and probably later. Thank you.
David Ashford 23:18
Okay, next, I’ve got Rob at three FM. Good afternoon.
Unknown Speaker 23:22
Good afternoon, Minister. First of all, once the Chester street hub comes online, and then the northern copper clinics, as you mentioned, after that, how will you decide who gets invited to go to which of the centres when they’re given their appointments.
David Ashford 23:35
So in terms of the airport and the Chester street hopes, they are going to be the two main hubs, it will be looked at on a booking basis as to where there are slots available. In terms of those vaccines that we will be doing in the north of the island, they will be purely limited to those that can’t travel. So those that have a very valid reason as they can’t travel will be able to go via the hub pop up clinic clinics to be vaccinated for that is purely that those will be limited to people who are able bodied, be able to be assisted to a vaccination hub will go through Chester street or the airport, because that is the way that we managed to get mass vaccination out there. It’s the most efficient way to deliver the vaccines so that they will have to go to an airport or but only those that have serious mobility issues that will be able to be vaccinated in the public clinics.
Unknown Speaker 24:25
Thank you. And secondly, for those travelling back and quarantining Is there any guidance that the government gives in terms of what is actually classed as safe and suitable accommodation or is it entirely the responsibility of the person travelling back.
David Ashford 24:37
So in terms where it is patient transfer coming back, the departments will assist the patient transfer in finding appropriate accommodation if they have to isolate outside of the home. In relation to those travelling on their own it is their responsibility to ensure that they have adequate accommodation for them to be able to perform their isolation and outside of that home space. Okay, and next up, I’ve got some in Richardson from business 365. Good afternoon sun.
Unknown Speaker 25:06
Good afternoon minister. Stage, scientists in the UK have this afternoon predicted a significant return to normality, once the over 50s are vaccinated in the UK, could that be the trigger for relaxation of our border controls? I mean, the talk is that the UK could reach that position by the end of March.
David Ashford 25:29
Well, we factor in a multitude of things, Simon, and I’ll bring the Director of Public Health in from the medical standpoint in a moment. But we factor in a variety of things, as I think I’ve said before, it’s UK infection rate, it’s the risk to the island. Now we know that the UK before has been optimistic that they’ve been in a good place they’ve released and then after a few weeks, things have gone back the other way. So we would, I think have to say a sustained period of improvement in the UK. And certainly it coming down a long way from where it is now. I think it was quite a Chris Whitty who yesterday said that although the UK it was past the peak, it was still a very large way up the mountain side, compared to where it should be. So we have to be very cautious. I think about announcements around normality. We’ve set ourselves that once we get to the point where we vaccinated all the over 50s, that’s a review point, it doesn’t mean things will necessarily change overnight. But it will be a review point for us. And what we have to remember, we do have to be cautious about this. What we don’t want to do is release measures and then see that as a result, we end up in a very dire situation. But I’ll bring Kenyatta in in cases. Yes, I
Henrietta Ewart 26:37
think that’s absolutely right. I mean, the levels in the UK now, even though they’re coming down would still have been eye watering if we’d seen them in the summer. So there’s something about getting a bit kind of, you know, you get a bit impervious to these numbers, you forget how horrendous they are and how high the numbers still in hospital across are, and how high the demand on ICU is. So we do have to be mindful of that. And also mindful of the other things that can come into the mix, like the new variants and the impact of those. I think we have to think about where normality sits with us. Because actually, while we’re COVID, free on Island, life on Island is pretty normal. And I think we all very much appreciate that. The issue then is about borders. And at what point can we flex at the borders. And some of that will be driven by or the consideration will be driven by the numbers across because the higher the rates across the more risk there is that travellers will bring it on Island. But the other side of that is how many travellers could we increase the number of travellers coming across as rates fall across? Which we probably can, but then what sort of mitigations? Will we still need to require for them if we want to keep COVID? Free on Island. So you know, what will we still need in terms of self isolation and testing? Will we be able to bring back modified testing regimes like the day seven test leading to modified self isolation or not? So all of those things are things that can be taken into consideration and debated ultimately by council of ministers in terms of deciding where the risks set how we can mitigate them, and how that might look in terms of being more flexible at the border while still keeping us COVID secure on Island
Unknown Speaker 28:42
can return waiting so
David Ashford 28:43
sorry, Simon, would you just repeat that for us? We missed the start, you were still muted,
Unknown Speaker 28:47
right? Sorry? How quickly do you think nobles hospital can return waiting lists to pre COVID levels, assuming that we stay clear of the virus,
David Ashford 28:57
it’s going to be a struggle. I’ll be perfectly honest, as Minister for health and social care. I’ve never tried to hide the fact waiting lists have increased over the COVID period. And it is going to take a substantial amount of time across quite a few speciality is to bring those down. The issue is as well, we will look to bring in additional resource to try and help to bridge drive those lists down. But of course the vast majority of our additional resource comes from the UK and the UK has its own pressures and problems which quite rightly they are going to prioritise from their point of view. So I’d love to be able to stand here and say six months, 12 months Everything will be fine back to normal. It will differ by speciality. It will differ by the amount of additional resource were able to bring in by that speciality by what’s available and what’s manageable. But it will be it will be a battle. I’m going to be perfectly honest about that to get things back to pre COVID levels and it will take a substantial amount of time. Thank you. And then last but not least, I’ve got Tim Glover at Manx radio. Good afternoon, Tim.
Richard Butt 30:00
testimony minister had just a lots been covered. So I’ll pick on one specific here. Our son daughter in law just had a baby during the latest lockdown circuit breaker. They’ve been told there are no home visits by the nursing community post birth, because all the nurses are being used to provide vaccinations. Just a comment on that and what other services are missing at the moment?
David Ashford 30:27
Well, the one thing I would say is I’d be surprised if they were being used to provide vaccinations because we haven’t impacted day to day services in order to provide the vaccination programme. And the vaccination programme with staff resource has been done in a way that it didn’t impact day to day services. The nurses within maternity during the lockdown may well have been redirected to all the duties. Because we did have restrictions. The restrictions that were put in place around maternity weren’t due to nurses doing all the duties, they were due to the fact around a risk based approach of what was safe. For the families involved. We did unfortunately have to restrict house calls and visits within the hospital area as well. Around maternity during the lockdown period. I know it was very stressful for expectant mothers and mothers who had recently given birth, it was a huge amount of pressure on top of the stress they have already. So I do thank them for bearing with us. From a clinical point of view, it was recommended that these measures needed to be taken to protect the families themselves as well as everyone else. And now that we are back to our version of normality, we can thankfully reinstate those things to ensure that people get a much smoother and a much better service than what they would probably see in a lot of other jurisdictions. Unfortunately, now we’ve had to have some of these measures in place for a substantial amount of time.
Richard Butt 31:50
And just with Guernsey and the Isle of Man, we’ve often mirrored each other and we’ve had the airbridge and follow fairly similar protocols throughout this pandemic. We’ve had outbreaks second waves, if you like, at similar times, we got to weigh with what about 50 odd cases? They’ve got 346 as it currently stands. So I’m just intrigued as to how we managed to get on top of it quicker. Were we lucky in some respects, was it we got to contact and trace quite early. And what’s the difference? Because I know that we’ve talked with Dr. Brink and from the public health side of things, what what have they missed? Or whether unfortunate circumstances in Guernsey?
David Ashford 32:38
Well, I’ll bring Dr. us in a moment, but I don’t think guernseys missed anything. Tim, I don’t think at all, they’ve got very reliable systems down there. So have way the issue with Guernsey is when the outbreak started, they didn’t know where the original routes of transmission had come from. And that is always a problem. Because if you can’t trace back to the original routes of transmission before you know what different cases are popping up, or different areas all over the community, and you don’t know what you’re battling, it’s too late. We were we had the fortunate situation where in relation to the two main cases, ours were symptomatic, so presented. So we were able, therefore to do the contact tracing, use our mobile systems to shut it down early. If those people have been asymptomatic, and then the people after them have maybe been asymptomatic, then it could have been a very different story. And it goes back to what I was saying in my opening remarks that it only takes one person if something goes wrong for you to end up in a widespread outbreak. And I think you know, I use the same phrase that the chief minister used at the last press conference there but for the grace of God go away. It’s very unfortunate for Guernsey, I really feel for them, because they have done so well throughout this pandemic period. We’re very, very close, we’ve mirrored a lot of things that we’ve done. And unfortunately, in this instance, as with an invisible enemy, it slipped through the net. And they’re now having to face the battle what they are. But I’ll hand over to Dr. Yu
Henrietta Ewart 34:05
Yes. Very little to add to that, really, I mean, we work very closely as public health teams here with our opposites in Guernsey, we speak most weeks. If it happened there, it could have happened here. And as the minister says, We were lucky. All of this goes back to behaviour and I have to stress this COVID doesn’t pop up by spontaneous generation. It comes in from somewhere else. So behaviours drove the situation both on Island here and in Guernsey. And you know, that’s another plea to everybody to please take this seriously. Don’t think you can think for yourself, oh, if I just do this, it’ll be alright. Because as the minister has said a couple of times today, it only takes one. But the issue, as the minister has said was that we had symptomatic presentation, admittedly not as soon as we would have liked but we did get it and Got it in time to actually identify the lines of transmission back to the travel incidents that have brought them in. So we could track them back, and we could track them forward. And we could effectively contain and close them. Now, in Guernsey, they got a number all coming up at once of community cases, with no link that they could find to a travel related case, it must have been a travel related case, one or more, who did whatever they did, that meant that it got out there. Whether it was people who were truly asymptomatic or who had symptoms, which they chose not to report, who knows both of those scenarios are possible. We know that from here. We know it from big data sets in the UK. So by the time they identified it, it was everywhere. And I think you know, I’ve used this analogy before, but it’s like the mall and fire that gets down under the peach. You don’t think it’s there, you’ve got no way of seeing it, but then it suddenly pops up and can get out of control. And you’ve still got no way of finding where in the peat layer it is. So that’s kind of where Guernsey are. Although that said they are getting it under control, their daily rising cases is falling. And they’re very vigorous contact tracing and self isolation will get on top of it. But it will undoubtedly take longer than we were able to do it in because of the differences that we’ve gone through.
Unknown Speaker 36:28
David Ashford 36:29
Can I thank our media partners for those questions. I have often said at this podium that we have got through this as a as a community, and the community spirit has been our binding force. Earlier this week, our world community lost a towering figure that embrace the very essence of community spirit. Captain sir Tom Moore. Captain sir Tom was an inspiration to people all over the globe. And the fact that he lost his final battle to COVID-19 makes the loss even more pronounced. He was the embodiment of resolve and determination and stood as an example to us all that with steadfast determination we can achieve so much. Our world community is poor, and a shining and shining light has gone out with his loss. But his memory and legacy will live on in all our hearts. He in his achievements will never be forgotten. With things returning back to some semblance of normality, again after the circuit breaker lockdown here on our island. It is easy to think that for Ross COVID-19 is a thing of a past. It isn’t. Despite us regaining most of our freedoms, those freedoms have been hard worn, and we must continue to remain vigilant and follow the rules in place around travel and self isolation. I have said before at this podium, how it has inspired me with how our island community has pulled together over this last 12 months. Over the last three weeks we’ve done it again and banish the community spread of COVID-19 from our shores, but the risk has not gone away. The risk from this invisible enemy is still ever present. Thank you to each and every one of you for all that you have done. Continue to do and the sacrifices many of you have made and continue to do. Be that being parted from friends and family or restricting your what in normal times may be necessary trips off Island. You are keeping our islands safe. And together. I hope and believe that we will come out of this ever stronger as a community. Thank you