Good evening, everyone
This is the announcement that I never wanted to make. But it was the announcement that was inevitable when the brutality of this pandemic became clear.
Every country in the world is suffering at its hands. Almost every nation has suffered untimely deaths of its people. The Isle of Man has now joined that tragic group.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to announce the passing of one of our own because of COVID-19.
You will of course understand that I cannot go into any detail at this stage. All I can say is that a patient died at Nobles Hospital as a result of COVID-19. This person had underlying health conditions. The family have of course been informed.
Politicians in this situation always say that their thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of the person who has passed away.
I wanted to say something different. But I can’t. I have been thinking about them and praying for them since I heard the news.
Whatever your religion - or even if you don’t have religion - please join me for a moment to think about this member of our community who has passed away and to think about those who are suffering at their loss.
I did not personally know this person. But they were a member of our Island community.
The women, men and children on this Island are a community. We are a family. A family that is proud, caring and resilient. And this is what we are going to need to be in the weeks ahead.
I know that this death will send a shock through our community. I know that people will be scared. I understand that.
This will not be the last death on our Island because of COVID-19. Too many of us will lose loved ones.
We are fighting an invisible enemy about which we know so little.
So many of you have stepped up to face it. We have seen heroes in every corner of our beautiful Island.
Our health and social care colleagues are doing everything they can to be ready. To treat. To save.
But there will be more deaths and we need to be ready for that. We will not necessarily come together in this way every time COVID-19 takes one of ours. But it felt the right thing to come together at this time for this moment.
His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor has joined me this evening. I would like to invite him to share his thoughts.
Thank you, Sir Richard.
Now – at this moment of national grief – I ask you to support each other. Respect each other. Help each other.
There is a tough road ahead. Do your Island proud. We will get through this together. I am determined. I will do everything I can to protect the lives of our people.
For now, please play your part.
If you can, stay at home. It will save lives.
Please remember. And please tell others. That “Whichever way you throw us, we will stand”.