Good afternoon everyone.
Unfortunately it is yet another sad day for the Island as the coronavirus spreads and has taken more from our community. This morning we heard the very sad news that the Island has now had it’s the third and fourth coronavirus related death. Our thoughts and condolences are with the families and friends during this difficult time…
…Since this morning’s update there have been 2 further confirmed positive tests for coronavirus.
The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Isle of Man is 258.
There has been 2244 tests, 2089 concluded tests, 155 people are awaiting results and 69 people are awaiting tests.
In total 90 patients have been instructed to self-isolate and 13 are being treated at the hospital. The contact tracing process is already underway led by Public Health.
In total 151 individuals are presumed recovered and there have been a total of four deaths caused by the coronavirus.
Yesterday it was announced that due to the developing health situation the current restrictions on work, movement, boarders and our social lives would be extended until at least the 23 April before they are reviewed.
The emergency powers have been extended into May.
During this time where most of us are confined to our homes it is often the small things that we miss most.
All in the Isle of Man Government are working to try to bring our beautiful Island to you via your phone or computer. You may already have seen that we have been working with the staff at the Curragh’s Wildlife Park and each day this week the park has opened its virtual gates to give an insight into the life of its inhabitants.
There are five short films from the Wildlife Park covering some of their star attractions. The Park’s knowledgeable keepers explain a little about the animals, where they come from and what they eat. These can be seen via the Government’s social media channels.
Already featured this week have been the lemurs, meerkats, penguins and the now famous Kush and the other red pandas, with one more to follow tomorrow.
If you haven’t had a chance to see these yet, please do, I think they have done an excellent job and produced some really great and educational videos for adults and children alike.
All the park's staff and volunteers are looking forward to welcoming you all back after this is all over, but until then, you can sit back and enjoy a little reminder of life at the park and the wonders of nature.
I would like to thank all the staff across the whole of education for volunteering to keep our hub schools open over Easter so our key workers can continue their valuable work and vulnerable children are continued to be supported. I would also like to thank the nurseries and child minders who have continued to support our front line services.
Our children’s education is vitally important and I have heard many stories this week of how parents are continuing to educate their children at home.
Schools are working hard to maintain the link with their pupils. Some have taken to supplying home learning suggestions and activity packs, ideas on how to get creative at home and have created online educational resources.
These are all great things that will help bridge the gap until we can return to some form of normality.
One part of school life we mustn’t forget is the social interaction each pupil would get while at school and while continued education at home is important, equally important is being able to relax, socialise and interact with others.
As a parent you don’t have to become the teacher figure, your children need you the way you are.
Play board games, do a jigsaw puzzle, read a book with your children but also try to ensure your children have time to speak with friends and family over the phone or internet and are able to discuss any issues or feelings they have with you. This can alleviate some of the anxiety that children and adults alike will be feeling and help protect our mental wellbeing.
Earlier today I spoke with a number of young people and invited them to ask any questions they have on some of the things that most affect them as an age group or on a personal level. I tried to honestly address some of their concerns and thoughts about the coronavirus pandemic. This was done virtually and recorded.
We will look to make this video available as soon as possible.
It is important that we encourage young people to get involved with Government as much as possible and the current situation is no different.
When you had chance to watch it I think you’ll agree there was some really great questions I would like thank Graiagh Morgan, Harry Pack, Ethan Shorthouse, James Corlett, Emma Looney, Ben Davies and Caragh Benyon for taking part in that session which was both interesting and insightful for me and I hope the young people as well.
Now I’d like to take any questions and first up we have…
[Questions from media]
It has become a bit of a custom to celebrate the amazing generosity of our people at these press conferences, but I’m not sure where to start because there are so many of you out there stepping up to support our island.
The first shout out today goes to all the housekeepers at Nobles Hospital.
We have also received nominations for #howardsheros for everyone who works within the Department of Health and Social Care’s community services that continue to provide care and support through adult services, the reablement team, home care, social workers – indeed everyone working hard to ensure our community is cared for and supported at this difficult time for all of us.
The team at the Isle of Man Government technology service who are keeping on top of all the updates, stats and news.
A further shout out goes to our delivery people including the Isle of Man Post Office, Graylaw and Manx Independent Carriers who keep the supply chains going.
The banking sector who have kept their branches open and are providing support during these extraordinary times.
To the Creer family and all the farming families on the Island working hard to keep us supplied with local produce.
A very deserving shout out is for Watson’s Nurseries who are delivering free plants to people at risk, anyone elderly or immunocomprised to help them see beauty when they could be mentally struggling with the lockdown particularly if their gardens are their lifeline.
Manx Sewing for safety group which links people in their homes and has produced over 800 kit bags and shoe bags for community health care workers, frontline staff, prison officers and porters so that they can keep their families safe when they change and come home. Whilst working on their own they have combined with the work at UCM to make scrubs and are showing the real Manx spirit which will get us through these difficult times.
And finally a special shout out has come in for Rachael Quayle, a nurse in ICU, who spent her birthday this week working a 12 hour shift in Noble’s Hospital.
I would like to end by again stressing the importance of social distancing and how this saves lives.
The weather may be improving, but this not the time venture out, this is not the time to take risks with your or other people’s lives.
Stay at home. It is very tempting to start a new hobby or DIY project but please do so safely and don’t risk having an avoidable accident that could end with you needing the very emergency services we are trying to protect.
We must not let our guard down.
Be safe, stay at home, save lives.