A 2m distancing sign on the floor of a supermarket

Isle of Man lifts 2m distancing rule

Borders remain closed but island eases restrictions after 26 days with no new cases.
15 June 2020 , Katie Coyne

Isle of Man EHPs are “super proud” to have used their full skillset to help assist in the pandemic, as 2m physical distancing ended today for most people on the island.

The Isle of Man, with a population of around 84,000, has had 336 cases of COVID-19 and 24 deaths, but for the past 26 days has had no new cases.

Physical distancing of 2m – as well as other measures – is still in place for hospitals and care settings. The maximum number of people at mass outdoor gatherings has increased from 10 to 30 people. Manx borders, however, remain closed.

The island, which is well known for the TT motorcycle races, does not ordinarily have a national speed limit but introduced a temporary lockdown 40mph limit. This has now been switched up to 60mph.

Chris Ashford, one of a team of seven EHPs on the island, said: “I’m super proud to have been involved in both contact tracing and businesses advice during the pandemic. It’s been a crazy time to move over here and I know how lucky I am. It’s fantastic that EH officers have had their skillset fully utilised throughout.”

Ashford said that the Manx government has reaffirmed its commitment to “test, test, test, and trace, trace, trace,” which was “recognising the fact we got in hard and early with track and trace and realising it’s a massive reason why the island is where it is”.

He added: “Obviously the situation is different and unique over here, but it clearly demonstrates that track and trace works. Wishing all the best to my UK colleagues who are starting or continuing with contact tracing.”

Kathryn Magson, the CEO of the island’s department of health and social care, said in a statement: “For the majority, the freedom to associate freely with friends and family will be a cause for celebration.

“But we must not forget those who have suffered over the past few months, the vulnerable who’ve been shielding, those who have been isolated, lonely, sad or frightened.

“They will need our help ongoing. The scars won’t be visible but they are profound. We will be taking into account the potential for increased demand in our planning. For example, a need for mental health support, a delayed therapy which will make a real difference to an individual’s mobility or wellbeing.”

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