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Minister Ashford's statement on COVID-19 - 12 June 2020

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Good afternoon,

Those of you who tuned in yesterday will have heard the Chief Minister make a number of announcements moving us towards the new normal. Some you will have already been aware of and others may have pleasantly surprised you.

Our low levels of transmission risk have meant we can take a bolder approach than was originally anticipated and as a community will take a very large step closer to normality.

More on this shortly.

I am joined by a familiar face now at these briefings, the Chief Executive of the Department of  Health and Social Care Kathryn Magson. 

I would like to first take you through today’s stats 

Total number of tests undertaken 5484

We are awaiting 17 results

Meaning the number of test concluded is 5467

The total number of cases remains at 336

Meaning we have no new cases and no active cases. 

Next week we hope to reach 28 days without a new case. This is a significant figure as it is double the normal maximum incubation period for COVID-19. At this point the Isle of Man will be as close to 100% free from the virus as we can be without a vaccine. 

Today would have been a day for us to come together and watch some exciting road racing and to celebrate the winner of the Senior TT.

Usually a day for gatherings, BBQs and live music.

It is another big day in the Manx calendar that we have had to sacrifice for the greater good, another example of adapting to protect our society.

But the sacrifices have been worth it. Monday will see responsibility shifting to you the Manx public.

From Monday there will be no legal requirement to social distance. We will be the first place in the British Isles to be able to make such a claim. And one of very few nations world-wide.

Monday may look very different for us all. It is up to you to follow your own individual feelings on what you are comfortable with.

For obvious reasons some restrictions will remain in place at care homes and in medical environments as this is where we see the most vulnerable in society. Kathryn will cover this in more detail shortly.

For the vulnerable in our society. You will have received a letter from the Department of Health & Social Care explaining that due to the current situation it is now for you to make the decisions that best suit your situation and what you are comfortable with, the decisions are yours to make.

Over the weekend social distancing guidelines are still in place and gatherings both indoor and outdoor are limited.

The 40mph maximum speed limit is still in place. This will increase to 60mph from Monday.

The eyes of the world will now be on us as other nations look to learn from us to achieve the same level of success in their fight against the virus. 

The situation we find ourselves in here on our island is very different to the situation many other jurisdictions find themselves in. That is due to all the hard work and forbearance of each and everyone one of you over the last few months. But it is not a time to be complacent or fully relax our guard. We are still in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.

So we must  keep doing the basics – if you feel unwell and are displaying symptoms you should stay at home, self-isolate and call the 111 hotline. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cough and sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your elbow and sanitise any areas that may be used by multiple people.

Getting the basics right is what got us in this position and continuing with them will see us carrying on along this path.

We will each have had our own individual experiences over the last few months. We will all feel differently about the new normal – and that’s okay. Businesses will also have different feelings about what they are comfortable doing or allowing on their premises – and that’s okay too. Everyone will have their own boundaries. Everyone will have their own new normal.

There is still a global pandemic and we must and still be ready to act fast and take the necessary precautions if our situation changes. 

Today we published the Back to Care document

Back to Care is the Department of Health and Social Care’s second roadmap document, setting out the next steps for those care services that were suspended, reduced or altered during the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is a companion document to Back to Health, published two weeks ago, and outlines pathways to reinstate the diverse services that come under the heading of social care. These include Adult Social Care and our Children and Families division. Together they are responsible for a diversity of provision, including Older People's Services, Dementia Care, Services for Adults with a Learning Disability, child protection, looked after children, children with a disability and youth justice. 

At this point I would like to hand over to Kathryn Magson who will explain further. 

I will now take questions. 

We have had a lovely message from Married couple, Sammi and Gareth Farrell who run the charity Isle of Man Community Meal Donations. They would like me to pass on their thanks to the public for helping them to fund the Charity.

The service has now drawn to a close with today being the last meal donation to the Community.

They have delivered an impressive 1,550 meals and over 500 other donations during the 11 weeks they have been running into the Community, Nobles Hospital staff, Isle of Man Prison Staff, St Christopher's Aftercare and Sunnydale Residential home.

I would like to thank Sammi and Gareth for their great work.

We would like to thank everyone who reached out to us in their time of need and we hope we have helped in every way possible 

As today would have been senior race day I think it is rather fitting that I leave you with a racing analogy.

Our race is not over. Though we may be approaching the final laps and we have opened the throttle a little more. We will still have a few twists and turns with a few tight corners to traverse before we can say we have passed the finishing line.

We shouldn’t be disheartened if there is the odd bump along the way, we will adjust and find a new line of travel.

Yes there is cause to be proud of what we have all achieved so far but it is not quite our victory lap.

I am personally very proud of what we have achieved together and you should be too. 

Thank you.