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Isle of Man goes into circuit break lockdown after COVID outbreak linked to ferry worker

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·2 min read
DOUGLAS, ISLE OF MAN - MAY 23: A view the entrance to the empty Isle of Man airport which is currently still not open on May 23, 2020 in Douglas, Isle of Man. The Isle of Man began lifting COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on Friday 24th April with phase one, relaxing travel and exercise times, of a six phase plan. Two weeks later the chief minister, Howard Quayle, reopened non-essential retail shops plus lifestyle and tourism businesses - two further phases. Restaurants and cafes with outside dining will be able to open from June 1. The final phase will be reopening the island's borders, which closed on 27 March, and is still to come. This will be implemented on
The empty entrance to the Isle of Man airport during the first lockdown in 2020. (Getty)

Officials on the Isle of Man have introduced a three-week circuit breaker lockdown following a rise in coronavirus cases after a ferry crew member tested positive.

The island had come out of lockdown on 1 February, with schools and businesses reopening after no reports of unexplained community cases of coronavirus for 17 consecutive days.

Masks and social distancing measures were also removed as the island attempted to get back to normal.

However, on Tuesday chief minister Howard Quayle announced a new lockdown of 21 days as a result of “transmission in our community that we cannot see and that we do not understand”.

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He said: “After lengthy discussions that weighed heavily on our minds, we have decided that we cannot allow anything to put this longer term exit at risk.

“We need to intervene now. If we do so now, and if everyone does their bit, we will again stamp out the current outbreak that seems to be moving under the surface of our community.”

Watch: Isle of Man lockdown lifted at start of February

The island currently has 58 cases of coronavirus, three of which have no immediate link to identified clusters of the virus.

On 18 February, Quayle announced there were COVID cases on the Isle of Man that were not among people who had travelled there and entered self-isolation.

They were linked back to a member of staff working for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, which runs ferries to and from Liverpool, Belfast, Dublin, and Heysham in Lancashire.

At the time, the company said the crew member, who was not in a passenger-facing role, had a test while off-duty and was placed in immediate isolation, with contact-tracing underway.

Under the new measures, which came into force just after midnight on Wednesday, schools and businesses will close and residents are urged to stay at home.

Howard Quayle Chief Minister of the Government of the Isle of Man during a press conference during the British Irish Council meeting at Farmleigh in Dublin. Picture date: Friday November 15, 2019. See PA story POLITICS BIC. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire (Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images)
Isle of Man chief minister Howard Quayle announced a new lockdown of 21 days starting at midnight on Wednesday. (Getty)

Quayle said the island’s vaccination programme was on track to deliver first doses to all over-50s and clinically vulnerable adults during April.

Before the new outbreak, a total of 484 people on the Isle of Man had tested positive for coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, with 25 deaths recorded.

Watch: How England will leave lockdown