The Government has published a revised version of its COVID-19 Exit Framework which, subject to the approval of Tynwald, will guide the Island as it begins a new chapter in dealing with the virus.
The document outlines the indicative conditions and target dates for changes to the Island’s current border restrictions. The framework also describes how individuals, businesses and government all have increasingly a role to play in minimising the risk to the community as the Island learns to live in a world with COVID-19.
The Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK said: “We have always said that we would not be able to keep our borders restricted for ever. This framework details how we hope to move away from many of the restrictions we have seen over the past year. Its development has been a team effort. The document that we will debate in Tynwald this week is based on discussions with a wide range of stakeholders including our clinical and public health teams. It takes into account information from the Isle of Man, the United Kingdom and beyond on vaccination progress and infection rates
“The time has now come for us to move into our Transition Phase, and to an approach of mitigation – where we increasingly will need to learn to live in a world where the virus is still present around us and may well return to our Island.
“We are not there yet and the risk the virus presents if it were to break out again in our community is still very real. We must continue to maintain restrictions and mitigations on our borders in the short to medium term. Equally, this risk is reducing with every passing day and we must recognise that for many, Island life will not be back to normal until we are able to once again resume unrestricted travel to and from our Island.
“I am also grateful to Members of Tynwald for their input and the constructive manner in which they have approached the creation of this document over recent weeks. I look forward to further debate in the Tynwald chamber.
“We have heard from people and businesses here that the last thing anyone wants is another lockdown. For that reason, the plan is careful and incremental. But we also heard that what everyone now seeks is clarity on the future. This is the balance that we have sought to achieve in proposing version two.
“Version one set out the broad framework and phases. This version now takes us into the next phase and the next level of progress we hope to make.
“For many reasons there is still a great deal of uncertainty around how best to respond to the threat the virus poses, but as always the Council of Ministers has to take into account a broad range of factors and strike the best balance for the Island – its people, its businesses and society as a whole.
I believe version two of the framework, building on our progress, building on feedback and input, and building on more information and knowledge provides a solid basis on which we can start to plan our future beyond these restrictions and move into a long term position where we can all better live in a world with COVID.”