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Isle of Man locks down - the consequences of “keep COVID out”

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island

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Similar to local measures in parts of New Zealand and Australia last month, the Isle of Man has today gone into a 21-day “circuit breaker” lockdown, its second of 2021, after an outbreak of 40 cases arising from a resident ferry worker. The worker, who was not isolating outside work as required, may have spread the case in the community.

This shows, for me, the folly of a “keep COVID out” approach by throwing up the barricades and trying to prevent imported cases. The limited immunity in the community means that they keep jumping in and out of lockdown anyway, with all the attendant unpredictability.

 
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yorksrob

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On the other hand, I suspect their residents would say that they've had a better last twelve months of it than anyone else in Europe.

But it's doubtful that such a strategy would work where the virus is endemic.
 

yorkie

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On the other hand, I suspect their residents would say that they've had a better last twelve months of it than anyone else in Europe.
Yes; NZ is the same and supporters of their authoritarian regime justify these lockdowns by pointing out that the country spends less time with restrictions compared to places where the virus is endemic.

What they don't like to admit is that:
1) the exit strategy is firstly to continue harsh snap lockdowns until the population has been vaccinated
2) once that has happened they will not be able to fully keep the virus out anyway (though arguably this doesn't really matter once the vast majority of the population has good immunity)
3) it's not a fair comparison anyway

So "zero Covid" really means cutting your country off from the world for a not insignificant length of time, the constant threat of snap lockdowns and ultimately the same position as everywhere else.

But it's doubtful that such a strategy would work where the virus is endemic.
That's absolutely key.

NZ, IoM etc may have done what is best for their isolated communities (it's debatable but will only become clear in due course; a years time at least) but was never achievable for the UK given our physical land border as well as the virtual one where lorries constantly enter through the Channel Tunnel and ro-ro ferries.

The people who claim "zero Covid" is achievable for UK now, and use this as justification to continue with harsh restrictions for many more months are insane; the boat for that sailed long ago, if it was ever possible.
 

yorksrob

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Yes; NZ is the same and supporters of their authoritarian regime justify these lockdowns by pointing out that the country spends less time with restrictions compared to places where the virus is endemic.

What they don't like to admit is that:
1) the exit strategy is firstly to continue harsh snap lockdowns until the population has been vaccinated
2) once that has happened they will not be able to fully keep the virus out anyway (though arguably this doesn't really matter once the vast majority of the population has good immunity)
3) it's not a fair comparison anyway

So "zero Covid" really means cutting your country off from the world for a not insignificant length of time, the constant threat of snap lockdowns and ultimately the same position as everywhere else.


That's absolutely key.

NZ, IoM etc may have done what is best for their isolated communities (it's debatable but will only become clear in due course; a years time at least) but was never achievable for the UK given our physical land border as well as the virtual one where lorries constantly enter through the Channel Tunnel and ro-ro ferries.

The people who claim "zero Covid" is achievable for UK now, and use this as justification to continue with harsh restrictions for many more months are insane; the boat for that sailed long ago, if it was ever possible.

Indeed. I think that if I were the IoM, I'd have done the same. But I'm not.

I wonder, is the IoM able to enjoy the best of both worlds, in terms of also being small and near enough to the UK to benefit from the vaccine roll out !
 

Carlisle

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I wonder, is the IoM able to enjoy the best of both worlds, in terms of also being small and near enough to the UK to benefit from the vaccine roll out !
None of the articles state how advanced their vaccination program is, it shouldn’t take too long to vaccinate around 80000 people .
 

Domh245

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IoM vaccine rollout does seem to be progressing well - 15,178 first doses given, with a further 7,711 second doses. Doing between 600 and 1,000 jabs a day, and with the current stock they've got another 2,340 first doses ready to go

 

RuralRambler

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Indeed. I think that if I were the IoM, I'd have done the same. But I'm not.

I wonder, is the IoM able to enjoy the best of both worlds, in terms of also being small and near enough to the UK to benefit from the vaccine roll out !

The IOM benefit from best of both worlds in lots of respects. They're a tax haven independent from the UK but adopted UK VAT! They benefit from the UK's NHS (patients transferred to the UK for treatment they can't provide on the Island). Obviously they benefit from the UK's protection via armed forces. All that's possible because it's so small with a tiny population. Very similar in that respect to the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. Basically not wanting to be part of the UK but hanging on to the UK's coat tails.
 

Yew

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The IOM benefit from best of both worlds in lots of respects. They're a tax haven independent from the UK but adopted UK VAT! They benefit from the UK's NHS (patients transferred to the UK for treatment they can't provide on the Island). Obviously they benefit from the UK's protection via armed forces. All that's possible because it's so small with a tiny population. Very similar in that respect to the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. Basically not wanting to be part of the UK but hanging on to the UK's coat tails.
Slightly off topic, but I do think I prefer the French approach to overseas territories where they are considered as much a part as France as Marseille or Toulouse, our method just seems to breed tax havens.
 

Chester1

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Slightly off topic, but I do think I prefer the French approach to overseas territories where they are considered as much a part as France as Marseille or Toulouse, our method just seems to breed tax havens.

France has three classes of overseas territory. What you describe is the main one but they have some that are comparable with British Overseas Territories. Its the Crown Dependencies that have a bizarre constitutional status.

The Isle of Man will have to decide when and how to up after everyone has been offered a vaccine. There will still be some deaths afterwards. Not everyone will have the vaccine. I would guess demanding from arrivals vaccination evidence and a recent negative covid test will be their first step later this year. Zero covid is not a realistic option for them long term.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Seems a bit unfortunate that the latest Isle of Man "lockdown" has been pinned on some individual Manx ferry crew member who may have, or possibly didn't, follow(ed) recommended workplace protocols.
 

IanM

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Seems a bit unfortunate that the latest Isle of Man "lockdown" has been pinned on some individual Manx ferry crew member who may have, or possibly didn't, follow(ed) recommended workplace protocols.
As I understand it, the issue is with the lack of clarity of the rules, rather than with any individuals' behaviour.
 

yorkie

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As I understand it, the issue is with the lack of clarity of the rules, rather than with any individuals' behaviour.
True, it was down to a misunderstanding, and the company not passing information onto staff, though that hasn't stopped people blaming others, as is the usual in this pandemic:

Island resident Cathy Clucas said she was "disappointed" with the decision to enter a lockdown.
She said it was unfortunate that, due to a minority, "the majority are to suffer again".

No action will be taken against the Isle of Man's ferry operator following an investigation into a Covid-19 cluster stemming from an infected crew member.
A notice issued to the Steam Packet Company required all staff on the island to isolate when not working.
However, the investigation found that only UK crew were quarantining.
Chief Minister Howard Quayle said it had been a "genuine misunderstanding" and no criminal action would follow.
The company had "genuinely felt they were complying to what they thought were the rules" and there was no "criminal negligence", he said.

I also don't understand why they are picking on public transport (another theme in this pandemic) :rolleyes:

  • Face coverings must be worn on public transport and are "strongly advised" elsewhere
 

Darandio

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I notice comments from the island on the BBC round up tonight. Residents are disappointed but vow they will 'beat' the virus again. Mmm, okay.
 

Cowley

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I notice comments from the island on the BBC round up tonight. Residents are disappointed but vow they will 'beat' the virus again. Mmm, okay.

Set to become the only living museum that nobody’s allowed to actually visit.
 

yorkie

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I notice comments from the island on the BBC round up tonight. Residents are disappointed but vow they will 'beat' the virus again. Mmm, okay.
Yeah!

We beat HCoV-OC43, HCoV-HKU1, HCoV-229E, and HCoV-NL63 and now it's Sars-Cov-2's turn to be defeated!

Reaching endemic equilibrium counts as a victory for us, and not the virus, right? ;):lol:
 

RuralRambler

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So what exactly was the "genuine misunderstanding"?

Ferry staff were told to isolate when on the Island. There was a misunderstanding that it only applied to non IOM staff. A member of staff who lived on the Island assumed it didn't apply to him/her and didn't isolate, hence spreading it around the Island whilst they were infectious before covid was confirmed.

Highlights the perils of relying on border restrictions etc. Ferry staff members would have been mixing on board the ship (looks as if social distancing between staff wasn't as good as it should have been), so there was always the potential for covid to spread between staff. Clearly no one give any thought to the staff who lived on the Island, and like everyone else on the Island, thought he/she was "free" to have a normal life, including going shopping, to pubs & restaurants, to theatres, ride freely on public transport, etc.

Set to become the only living museum that nobody’s allowed to actually visit.

I think it shows that restrictions are needed even with "closed" borders. Cases have sneaked into "covid free" Australian cities, New Zealand and IOM, depsite the damage done by strict border controls.

When IOM residents were gloating about "normal" life a few months ago, i.e. pubs & restaurants open, theatres, cinemas, etc., I thought then it's a very dangerous strategy that allows Covid to spread wildly
 
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Watershed

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I think it shows that restrictions are needed even with "closed" borders. Cases have sneaked into "covid free" Australian cities, New Zealand and IOM, depsite the damage done by strict border controls.
And if restrictions are needed even with "closed" borders, what's the point...? Again, the worst of both worlds comes to mind.
 

yorkie

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(looks as if social distancing between staff wasn't as good as it should have been
It never can be! There is an unrealistic expectation by Government and some people in our society that people should stop being human for 15 months of their lives, which is just ludicrous.

I think it shows that restrictions are needed even with "closed" borders. Cases have sneaked into "covid free" Australian cities, New Zealand and IOM, depsite the damage done by strict border controls.

When IOM residents were gloating about "normal" life a few months ago, i.e. pubs & restaurants open, theatres, cinemas, etc., I thought then it's a very dangerous strategy that allows Covid to spread wildly
The whole point of "Zero Covid" is that they "prevent lockdowns" by first locking down for a very long time, very harshly until all evidence of community spread has been eliminated, then they open up, and implement snap lockdowns when cases are detected.

While I can see the benefits of such an approach for an isolated community (clearly not appropriate in the UK where the virus is already endemic), it is utterly pointless if ongoing restrictions are to be implemented anyway!

But I think you have exposed one of the flaws of a so-called "Zero Covid" strategy.

Even the places that adopted such a strategy are having to admit that vaccinations are the way out as they have to open up eventually; once mass vaccinations are concluded the virus will become just as endemic in places that adopted this strategy as anywhere else!
 

DelayRepay

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Leaving aside this outbreak, it seems a little unfair that Isle of Man residents who work on the ferry had to isolate, when everyone else on the island was allowed to live a much more normal life.

How long did they expect this to continue for? I assume they were planning to prioritise ferry workers for vaccines and then lift this rule? Otherwise I think the ferry company would end up with no staff left!
 

Crossover

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It strikes me that the IoM strategy could have been pretty risky as it rested entirely on the vaccine (I know ours did in England too but to a lesser extent, be it not necessarily by design).

I suspect that with that now in the state that it is that they have their way out too but lived a more normal 2020 than we did, even if it’s gone a bit pear shaped since. Had the vaccine not materialised, I daresay they’d have been royally stuffed!
 

Chester1

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It strikes me that the IoM strategy could have been pretty risky as it rested entirely on the vaccine (I know ours did in England too but to a lesser extent, be it not necessarily by design).

I suspect that with that now in the state that it is that they have their way out too but lived a more normal 2020 than we did, even if it’s gone a bit pear shaped since. Had the vaccine not materialised, I daresay they’d have been royally stuffed!

They are still stuffed, just in a different way to us. What do they do about high risk people who refused to be vaccinated? They won't have herd immunity because vaccinated people can spread it. Zero covid will mean permanently shut borders. Low covid is viable with a vaccine but the Govermment needs to take responsibility for opening up the border knowing covid will kill some unvaccinated residents of the island.
 

mikeg

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If people aren't vaccinated, have had the opportunity to be vaccinated and have refused that's different. It's their own fault. They should be supported in the same way we support that mythical person who gets their head stuck in the saucepan - we don't refuse help completely in the event of it happening, but nor do we ban or restrict the sale or use of saucepans. I had my vaccine a week and a half ago, I had a reaction that got me off work a couple of days, but I would recommend everyone get it nonetheless. I shall needless to say be going for my second jab when the time comes round as for one thing it's a way out of this mess and for another even with the reaction it's still better than potentially getting Covid. And much better than lockdowns. But yeah we shouldn't plan around protection of people who have refused the vaccine.

Incidentally a country more autarkic than the Isle of Man, the DPRK has cut its borders off more completely. Almost no restrictions Covid related internally,but they're reportedly suffering a deep recession from a near total lack of imports and shortages have returned on a scale probably not seen since the 90s. Unfortunately this being the country it is there aren't reliable enough data to guage exactly how bad it is, but reportedly it's pretty bad economically
 

yorkie

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They are still stuffed, just in a different way to us.
They have been doing a shorter period between doses (which I knew was a mistake) so hardy anyone has been vaccinated; they have very little population immunity so it will spread easily
What do they do about high risk people who refused to be vaccinated?
I don't understand the question
they won't have herd immunity
No country does and we don't know yet it it can be eliminated (I doubt it); I think endemic equilibrium is more likely
because vaccinated people can spread it.
People with immunity are less likely to become infectious; when most people have immunity we are going to see relatively little spread. But it's likely that the virus will still circulate at low levels as the four already endemic coronaviruses do.

zero covid will mean permanently shut borders.
My understanding is that "zero Covid" strategy is not a long term thing at all and is just a short term strategy while waiting for a vaccine.

Low covid is viable with a vaccine
I agree that SARS CoV 2 is likely to be added to the list of endemic seasonal Coronaviruses (and Rhinoviruses), which for the vast majority of people will not pose any significant threat.
but the Govermnment needs to take responsibility for opening up the border knowing covid will kill some unvaccinated residents of the island.
If levels of infection in UK continue to decrease while infections in IoM increase above these levels, there arguably wouldn't be any actual point keeping the border closed really. But it would probably remain closed for a while for symbolic reasons if nothing else.

They need to switch to a 12 week gap for the booster shot urgently which would allow more people to build up good immunity over the Spring months.
 

Crossover

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What do they do about high risk people who refused to be vaccinated? They won't have herd immunity because vaccinated people can spread it.
I think it will end up boiling down to those who won't have it (out of choice) will have to take the risk for themselves. Although the vaccinated can spread it, it is looking highly likely that the vaccine significantly limits the spread (in my simple mind, if it doesn't survive in the body as long, then it will transmit for less time and probably in smaller quantity) so that is probably going to reduce the risk to some degree, I expect
 

RuralRambler

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A further 71 cases reported today in IOM

A further 71 cases of coronavirus have been detected on the Isle of Man, taking the total number of active cases to 234.
More than 1,000 people are now in isolation, including 287 instructed to do so since Friday.
The number of patients with Covid-19 being treated in Noble's Hospital has risen from two to five overnight.
 
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P Binnersley

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I was getting holiday adverts on Facebook from the IOM Government last week so must be planning to open up at some point this Summer.
 

johnnychips

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I get ads for pregnancy tests and used to get ones to register to vote for US elections, so I wouldn’t take them too seriously. :D
 

DelayRepay

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If levels of infection in UK continue to decrease while infections in IoM increase above these levels, there arguably wouldn't be any actual point keeping the border closed really. But it would probably remain closed for a while for symbolic reasons if nothing else.

Arguably, if cases in the UK continue to decline while cases in the IoM increase, the UK may have to consider adding the IoM to the 'red list' for quarantine. In practice that won't happen I know, but would be an interesting turn of events none the less.
 
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