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Coronavirus: How to stay safe and help prevent the spread

Updated:  11 August 2021

This guidance is correct at the time of publishing. However as it is subject to changes, please ensure that the information at time of issue is accurate and correct. 

On this page:

Isle of Man - Living with COVID-19

Lifting restrictions

Businesses and venues

Keeping yourself and others safe

Get tested and self isolate

Get vaccinated

Wearing a face covering

Fresh air

Personal hygiene

Staying home when unwell

Close contact

Understanding the risks of COVID-19

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable

If you are pregnant

International travel

Travelling in the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands

Isle of Man - Living with COVID-19

While cases are high and/or rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious.

This is why we are keeping in place key protections:

  • testing when you have symptoms and targeted asymptomatic testing in education, high risk workplaces and to help people manage their personal risk.
  • isolating when positive or when contacted by COVID 111 Response Team
  • border quarantine: Level 1.5 of the travel and border framework
  • cautious guidance for individuals, businesses and the vulnerable whilst prevalence is high including:
    • Strongly recommend that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport;
    • being outside or letting fresh air in
    • minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.

Although legal restrictions have been lifted, and many people have been vaccinated, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated, and we are still in the third wave of this pandemic in the UK and Isle of Man.

COVID-19 will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, so we need to learn to live with it and manage the risk to ourselves and others.

As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, it is important that we all use personal judgement to manage our own risk. All of us can play our part by exercising common sense and considering the risks. While no situation is risk free, there are actions we can take to protect ourselves and others around us. Following this guidance will help you stay safe and protect others by controlling the spread. Every action to help reduce the spread will reduce any further resurgence of the virus in the coming months.

Lifting restrictions

Most legal restrictions to control COVID-19 have been lifted see Isle of Man - Living with COVID-19.

This means that:

  • You do not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with. There are also no limits on the number of people you can meet.
  • However, in order to minimise risk at a time of high prevalence, you should limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually. This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
  • You should meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces.
  • The requirement to wear face coverings in law has been lifted. However, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport or crowded indoor spaces.
  • There are no longer restrictions on group sizes. COVID-19 has not gone away, so it’s important to remember the actions you can take to keep yourself and others safe. Everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious.

You should also ensure you follow the guidance listed on this page on acting carefully and remaining cautious, to help protect yourself and others.

You should get vaccinated if you have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Businesses and venues

All businesses should follow the principles set out in the Working safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (hse.gov.uk).

Employers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify. Working Safely guidance sets out a range of mitigations employers should consider including:

  • cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly
  • identifying poorly-ventilated areas in the venue and taking steps to improve air flow
  • ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue
  • communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place. 

Keeping yourself and others safe

There are still cases of COVID-19 in the Isle of Man and there is a risk you could catch or pass on the virus, even if you are fully vaccinated. You are encouraged to exercise caution and consider the risks. While no situation is risk free, there are actions we can take to protect ourselves and others around us.

If you are worried about going back to a more ‘normal’ life, visit the Are You Ok? Information pages.

Get tested and self isolate

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test, even if your symptoms are mild. You should self-isolate at home while you book the test and wait for the results. You must self-isolate if you test positive. This is the law.

The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above, even if your symptoms are mild, stay at home and arrange to have a test.

You must also self-isolate if you are told to do so by COVID 111 Response team.

If you have been fully vaccinated you will be exempt from the requirement to self-isolate if you are a contact of a positive case. You will instead be advised to take an home test (LFD) daily for 7 days – see COVID-19 testing for further advice.  

If you test positive you will still need to self-isolate regardless of your vaccination status or age. When self-isolating, follow the self-isolation guidance. This will help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to other members of your household and community. You must stay at home at all times and not have contact with other people. There are only very limited circumstances when you do not have to do this, such as seeking medical assistance. If you do leave your home during your period of self-isolation for a permitted reason, you should maintain social distancing and keep 2 metres apart from other people and wear a face covering.

Individuals and Businesses may be entitled to receive incapacity benefit or a business grant whilst self isolating see Business guidance (gov.im) for further advice.

You could be fined if you do not self-isolate and follow your Direction Notice issued by  following notification by the COVID 111 team. 

Get vaccinated

All adults in the Isle of Man have now been offered at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19.

If you have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, you should get vaccinated. It usually takes around two to three weeks for an antibody response to develop. You need two doses of vaccine for maximum protection against COVID-19.

However, even if you have been fully vaccinated, you could still get COVID-19 and get sick - a recent PHE report shows that around 1 in 5 people who are double-vaccinated are still vulnerable to getting infected with the Delta variant and showing symptoms. You can also still spread COVID-19 to others. We all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to protect others and to reduce the risk of new variants developing and spreading.

This advice will help us protect our friends, families, and communities, including those who have been vaccinated.

Wearing a face covering

COVID-19 spreads through the air by droplets and aerosols that are exhaled from the nose and mouth of an infected person. The Government recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.

See Guidance on face coverings 

Fresh air

When a person infected with COVID-19 coughs, talks or breathes, they release droplets and aerosols which can be breathed in by another person. Fresh air blows away these particles, reducing the chances of COVID-19 spreading. It’s always worth considering if you can meet outdoors or, if you’re indoors, thinking about how you can improve ventilation by letting fresh air in.

The more fresh air you let into your home or other enclosed spaces, the less likely a person is to inhale infectious particles.

You can let in fresh air by uncovering vents and opening doors and windows. Don’t prop fire doors open. If you have an extractor fan at home, (for example in your bathroom or kitchen), think about leaving it running for longer than usual with the door closed after someone has used the room. This is particularly important when meeting people you don’t live with indoors.

If you are concerned about noise, security or the costs of heating, opening windows for shorter periods of time can still help to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. Wearing extra layers can help you to keep warm. You may be able to change the layout of your room so that you do not sit close to cold draughts from open windows or doors.

See Ventilation of indoor spaces to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Home testing twice a week even if you don’t have symptoms, and reporting results via the lateral flow device result notification

Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms. This means they could be spreading the virus without knowing it. Testing twice a week increases the chances of detecting COVID-19 when a person is infectious, helping to make sure you don’t spread COVID-19.

Rapid lateral flow testing (LFD test) is available for free to anybody, but is particularly focused on those who are not fully vaccinated, those in education, and those in higher-risk settings such as Manx Care, social care and prisons. People may also wish to use regular rapid testing to help manage periods of risk such as returning to the workplace, close contact in a higher risk environment or when spending prolonged time with a more vulnerable individual. You can get tests from pharmacies or online. Find out more about how to get rapid lateral flow tests.

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test.

Personal hygiene

Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day. Regular hand washing is an effective way to reduce your risk of catching illnesses, including COVID-19.

It is particularly important to wash your hands:

  • after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose
  • before you eat or handle food
  • after coming into contact with surfaces touched by many others, such as handles, handrails and light switches
  • after coming into contact with shared areas such as kitchens and bathrooms
  • when you return home

Where possible, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you do need to touch your face (for example to put on or take off your face covering), wash or sanitise your hands before and after.

Hands touch many surfaces and can become contaminated with viruses, including COVID-19. You can transfer viruses to your eyes, nose or mouth from your hands if they are contaminated. Then viruses can enter your body and infect you. Washing or sanitising your hands removes viruses and other germs, so you’re less likely to become infected if you touch your face. Using soap and water is the most effective way to clean your hands, especially if they are visibly dirty. Use hand sanitiser if there isn’t soap and water available.

Coughing and sneezing increases the number of droplets and aerosols released by a person, the distance they travel and the time they stay in the air. A cough or sneeze of an infected person which is not covered will significantly increase the risk of infecting others around them.

These actions will reduce the spread of droplets and aerosols carrying COVID-19 and other viruses, including those that cause coughs and colds:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze.
  • If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not into your hand.
  • Dispose of tissues into a rubbish bag and immediately wash your hands.
  • Staying home when unwell
  • Remember to change your bedding regularly; and
  • Ventilate your home during and after being ill

Staying home when unwell

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test, even if your symptoms are mild. You should self-isolate at home while you book the test and wait for the results. You must self-isolate if you test positive.

If you feel unwell but don’t have COVID-19 symptoms, or your COVID-19 test is negative, you may still have an illness which could be passed on to other people.

Many common illnesses, like the flu or the common cold, are spread from one person to another.

This can happen:

  • through the air when someone infected with an illness breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles containing the viruses which can be breathed in by another person
  • through surfaces and belongings which can also be contaminated with when people who are infected with an illness cough or sneeze near them or if they touch them, the next person to touch that surface may then become infected
  • Staying at home until you feel better reduces the risk that you will pass on an illness to your friends, colleagues, and others in your community. This will help reduce the burden on our health services.

Close contact

The main way of spreading COVID-19 is through close contact with an infected person. When someone with COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles (droplets and aerosols) containing the virus that causes COVID-19. These particles can be breathed in by another person.

You may choose to limit the close contact you have with people you do not usually live with. You may also choose to take a free test before being in close contact to help manage periods of risk such as returning to the workplace, close contact in a higher risk environment or when spending prolonged time with a vulnerable individual.

These are personal choices which can help reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.

It is important to consider that others may wish to take a more cautious approach. We should all be considerate of this, and provide the opportunity and space for others to reduce close contacts if they wish.

Understanding the risks of COVID-19

The risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 can be higher in certain places and when doing certain activities. The main way of spreading COVID-19 is through close contact with an infected person. When someone with COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles (droplets and aerosols) containing the virus that causes COVID-19. These particles can be breathed in by another person. The particles can also land on surfaces and be passed from person to person via touch.

In general, the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is higher:

  • in crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious
  • in enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh air

Some activities can also increase the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19. This happens where people are doing activities which generate more particles as they breathe heavily, such as singing, dancing, exercising or raising their voices.

The risk is greatest where these factors overlap, for example in crowded indoor spaces where people are raising their voices.

In situations where there is a higher risk of catching or passing on COVID-19, you should be particularly careful to follow the guidance on keeping yourself and others safe as we return to normality. Every little action helps to keep us all safer.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to follow the same guidance as everyone else. However, as someone who is at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if you were to catch COVID-19, you should think particularly carefully about precautions you can continue to take. These precautions are included in the guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable.

If you are pregnant

If you are pregnant, as a minimum, you should follow the same guidance as everyone else. If you are more than 27 weeks pregnant, or if you are pregnant and have an underlying health condition that puts you at a greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19 at any point in pregnancy, you may want to consider limiting close contact with people you do not normally meet with regularly in order to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19. You can find further advice on pregnancy and coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS.UK (NHS page).

If you are pregnant or considering pregnancy and haven’t yet been vaccinated, you are advised to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and to book your second dose as soon as you are eligible. You can find further advice on pregnancy, breastfeeding, fertility and coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination on NHS.UK. (NHS Page)

International travel

There is a traffic light system for international travel. You should not travel to countries or territories on the red list.

People planning to travel to the Isle of Man should follow the travel to the Isle of Man page advice

Find out which list the country you are travelling from is on and what you need to do.

Travelling in the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands

There are no restrictions on travel within England.

You should check the rules at your destination if you’re planning to travel to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, or to Ireland or the Channel Islands as there may be restrictions in place.

Do not travel if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are self-isolating. 

 

The information in this guidance document has been adapted with kind permission from Public Health England. The content has been taken from Public Health England Coronavirus: How to stay safe and help prevent the spread https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do  [11 August 2021]

Issued by: Isle of Man Government Cabinet Office, Public Health Directorate, Cronk Coar, Nobles Hospital, Strang, Douglas, Isle of Man IM4 4RJ