The Isle of Man has exited lockdown after a 25 day 'circuit break' succeeded in stopping community spread of COVID-19.
The end of the lockdown means that life on the Island can return to near normal. There is no longer any requirement for social distancing and government is no longer recommending that the public wear face coverings. All businesses required to close or switch to a take-away service as part of the circuit break are free to reopen and return to normal service with immediate effect. The Island's schools will reopen today and the majority of public services will return to normal operation in the coming days.
Strict controls remain in place at the Island's borders, including restrictions on those who can travel to the Isle of Man, as well as isolation and testing regimes which aim to prevent anyone carrying the virus from spreading it within the community.
Chief Minister, Howard Quayle MHK, said:
'After almost a month of lockdown, this is the moment we have all been waiting for. The Isle of Man has achieved local elimination of the virus for a second time, meaning the risk of community spread of COVID-19 is extremely low. We beat the virus once and we have done so again. This has only been possible due to the seriousness with which the public have approached the measures set out by government to bring the virus under control and eliminate its spread. This achievement is thanks to the collective determination, the sense of duty, and the community spirit of the Manx people, for which they are to be commended.
'Although this is a moment for relief and celebration, we cannot let down our guard. We are seeing other jurisdictions that have achieved local elimination battling with outbreaks. We must remain vigilant.
'Although the government has put in place significant restrictions around who can travel here and what they must do when they arrive, the potential risk of a new outbreak remains. Those travelling to the Island must follow the rules to the letter. It is people's behaviours that are the frontline in the battle to prevent any future spread of the virus. But we all have a role to play. As a community we must all continue to practise good hand and respiratory hygiene. We must all remain aware of the symptoms of COVID-19, quickly self-isolating if we develop any, and contacting the COVID-111 service for advice. It is far better to err on the side of caution and be safe rather than sorry.
'Last time we achieved local elimination, we enjoyed almost seven months of relative normality here in the Isle of Man. With this record, our strengthened testing regime, and the growing pace of our vaccination programme, I hope this lockdown represents a blip to the start of 2021, with brighter days ahead.'