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Chief Minister's Speech - Press Conference 21 March 2020

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Press Conference - 21 March

Thank you for coming today and for taking time out of your weekend.

Today, I have with me the Minister of Health and Social Care and once again I am pleased to welcome the Isle of Man’s Medical Director Dr Rosalind Ranson who I will invite to speak later.

Yesterday, I informed you that we had a second case of COVID-19 confirmed on the Island.

Minister Ashford will make a short statement giving you details on this.

I would like to emphasise that we doing everything we can to keep the public informed. We are updating information as soon as it is brought to our attention. I continue to make a full commitment to openness and transparency while we deal with this pandemic.

Yesterday, I visited our new Covid-111 centre and the mobile testing facility. The volume of work is immense. More than 800 calls to 111 were received between 6am and 10pm. My heartfelt thanks to the dedication of the team who were mobilised so quickly.

We ask that before calling 111, people check their symptoms by completing a short self-assessment on our website. There is a clear link to this on  

This will ensure we speak to those who need our support most, first.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of following the procedures around self-isolation and self-distancing. It is only by taking these measures that we can try and slow the spread of the virus on the Island. Dr Ranson, will talk more on the importance of these measures later.

Yesterday, I stated that we have decided not to close schools immediately.

I would like to emphasise that this is under daily review. And the Minister for Education, Sport and Culture will be leading this press conference tomorrow.

Despite the struggle that we face in fighting COVID-19, as a proud Manx man it has given me great heart to see how the community has pulled together.

There has been an army of public servants making sure that we continue to deliver our services, and ensuring that our health care professionals can do their jobs.

And this hasn’t just been a Government response, those in the third and private sectors have also responded. Some have offered delivery services for those that maybe self-isolating or social distancing and others by prioritising services for those more vulnerable.

To help support food businesses, we will be allowing pubs and restaurants more flexibility and relaxing planning enforcement so that they can also offer takeaway services and deliveries.

This will both allow them to provide solutions for those self-isolating as well as enabling them to remain active during this period.

Those businesses that want to explore this should email the planning team at outlining how they intend to adapt.

I am in no doubt that our community spirit pragmatism and our determination will mean we can get through this. And we will as a nation together.