Three new cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the Isle of Man.
The first case relates to an individual who travelled to the Isle of Man with an exemption to take up employment. This was prior to the changes brought in on 23 December which limited the categories of exemption that allow non-residents to travel to the Island. The individual completed their 14 day period of self-isolation however, after this period had ended, they went on to develop symptoms and contacted the COVID-111 service to arrange a test, self-isolating whilst awaiting the result. The test result came back positive and that individual is now undertaking a further period of self-isolation.
Contact tracing identified eight close contacts, all of whom were offered and took up the option of a test for COVID-19. Seven of the eight individuals tested negative, however one close contact did test positive, having had no symptoms of the virus. The individual travelled and self-isolated with the index case and is now also undertaking a further period of self-isolation. The other seven close contacts who tested negative are also undertaking a period of self-isolation.
As the two individuals who have tested positive for the virus had completed their initial period of self-isolation, they were free to leave their accommodation. Contact tracing has identified several locations which have been visited by one or other of the positive cases. It is important to stress that the risk to the general public is low. If, however, anyone who has visited any of the locations during the relevant time period goes on to develop symptoms, they are encouraged self-isolate to contact the COVID-111 service. The service is open from 8am to 8pm each day.
The locations, dates and times are as follows:
Wednesday 23 December 2020
12:30 pm to 1.10 pm - A Café, Duke Street, Douglas
7.40 pm to 8.40 pm - Terrace Chippy, Prospect Terrace, Douglas
Thursday 24 December 2020
7.30 pm to 8.30 pm - Majestic Chinese Restaurant, Central Promenade, Douglas
Saturday 26 December 2020
11.00 pm to 2.00 am - 1886, Regent Street, Douglas
Dr Henrietta Ewart, Director of Public Health, said: “Fourteen days of self-isolation is seen as the gold standard, but there is always a very small risk that someone could still be harbouring the virus after this period. That appears to be the case here. Although the United Kingdom recently reduced the period of self-isolation after travel to 10 days, the Isle of Man Government retained the 14 day period. On 23 December, as an added precaution, the option for testing on day one and day 13 of self-isolation was introduced for people travelling to the Island. Those who do not which to undergo testing are required to isolate for 21 days.
“It is not clear at this stage, and it may not become clear, when the exact start date of this two case cluster was, however from the investigation conducted today, it is believed the cases are travel related.
“I am confident that the risk to the public is small and there is no cause for alarm. That said, to those people who were in the venues we have identified on the dates and times specified, please do contact the COVID-111 service immediately if you develop any COVID-like symptoms.
“All of our positive test results are sent to Liverpool for genomic sequencing, which means we will know within a few days whether the recent cases are the new UK variant of COVID-19.”
The third case is a returning resident who tested positive for the virus under the new day one testing regime. They have been self-isolating since their arrival on the Island. Contact tracing has been completed.
Chief Minister, Howard Quayle MHK, said: “It is unfortunate that an imported case of COVID has slipped through our self-isolation protocol. I am reassured that, following an assessment by the public health team, the risk to the public is low. Our new day one and day 13 testing regime – or the alternative of 21 days of self-isolation – mean the likelihood of this situation happening again is greatly reduced. I would ask everyone to be vigilant in looking for signs and symptoms of the virus and to contact the COVID-111 line if they have any concerns.
“My thanks to all those affected for being responsible and following the rules. I would like to pay tribute to our exceptional swabbing and testing teams and also our contact tracing team who have managed to quickly track down locations, dates, times and close contacts to help us contain the small risk of the virus spreading.”
The number of active cases of COVID-19 on the Island stands at seven.