Throughout the pandemic, Isle of Man Government has prepared and released Framework documents which detail the Government strategy for managing COVID-19 in the medium and long terms.
The initial framework documents, and subsequent Exit Framework which was endorsed by Tynwald in April 2021, have been revised and updated over time as the situation has developed.
A key aim of previous exit framework documents has been the restoration of unrestricted travel between the Island and the British Isles, and a strategic shift from an objective of ‘local elimination’ to one of ‘living with COVID-19’
Since the publication of the initial documents, significant progress has been made in terms of the Island’s vaccination programme, the UK’s vaccination programme, and scientific progress which evidences increased effectiveness of individual vaccines, and increased protection of transmission for first doses. However, it is recognised that the virus does still represent a strategic threat to Island life (particularly if a new variant emerges with ability to evade vaccines) and therefore a dedicated and considered approach is still required.
The ‘Learning to live in a world with COVID-19’ strategic approach document, published September 2021 describes at a high level the approach that Government is currently taking over the next 1 – 3 months, ahead of the next political administration, who may seek to adjust it where appropriate.
The three high level aims of the Government approach are:
1) To minimise the harm and disruption caused by COVID-19
- By ensuring the health and care service has capacity to operate normally, providing effective treatment and support for everyone
- Provide targeted support to individuals and business directly impacted by the pandemic
- Balance mitigations against COVID, mitigations in preserving health and care capacity and avoiding serious illness and death, and the impact of these mitigations on the economy, social, mental and emotional wellbeing and outcomes from non-COVID related health conditions
2) To support people in making informed choices
- Continue to promote advice and guidance on the potential risks of confined spaces with poor ventilation, crowded spaces and close contact, together with the importance of hands, face, space and fresh air
- Publish regular information and data related to Covid-19 to help inform personal choice
- Support self-testing and personal choice through the use of Lateral Flow Tests
3) To mitigate against uncontrolled transmission
- Continue to drive the vaccination programme , including extension to younger age groups and a phase 3 booster dose as recommended by JCVI;
- Continue border controls focused on the threat, particularly of new variants of concern;
- Continue with isolation and testing regimes for positive cases and mass surveillance testing where appropriate.