A number of important announcements in response to the coronavirus pandemic have been made today.
From 6am tomorrow (Friday) a specific coronavirus phone line will be operational, COVID-111. By dialling 111 Isle of Man residents will be put through to a robust system based on the one used in the UK that draws on clinical expertise.
To determine whether the COVID-111 line is the correct place for each specific concern, residents with online access are asked to complete an online questionnaire that can be accessed through www.gov.im/coronavirus from tomorrow.
The COVID-111 phone line is for people that have pressing concerns about their health or the health of a loved one. In the first instance please consult the information on the government website, where possible.
People with any other medical concerns should contact the relevant services in the normal way.
Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK has today issued assurance to the business community that a huge amount of work is taking place to establish support measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday in Tynwald, Minister Cannan announced a number of measures to help support employers and issued a message recognising the urgency in finalising a further package of measures to support businesses.
To ensure the continued safety of the public and their staff Isle of Man Railways have announced all Isle of Man Heritage Railways will suspend operations from this evening (19 March). The situation will be regularly reviewed in the light of ongoing developments.
The famous dining car events on the steam railway and the Snaefell Summit dinners will also cease operating from today. The team will contact all customers who have booked for these events to make suitable alternative arrangements.
Port Erin Railway Museum will be closed from today and the Rush Hour on the Railways event will also be cancelled. Discussions will commence with commercial tenants and off–Island travel partners to support them and mitigate the impact of the situation.
Any annual passes for the railways will be extended into next season to take into account the period of closure.
The Isle of Man Government is now in a position to increase the scale of testing for coronavirus.
There have been reports of abusive behaviour towards healthcare professionals from people who feel that they should be tested. This will not be tolerated. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff have a right to work without fear of abuse.
Manx Utilities have increased emergency credit from £6 to £30 to support someone self-isolating for 14 days.
Government is working with local pharmacies to ensure that those patients who are ill, self-isolating and/or vulnerable can receive medicine deliveries. However, people should not ask for a delivery of their prescription medicines unless there is a genuine need, as it will delay vulnerable patients receiving their medicines.
Members of the public should not ask their GP for additional orders of their prescription medicines as doctors will not be able to supply them any earlier than they are due.
Government has now put in place new powers. This morning, the Lieutenant Governor in Council made the necessary regulations. The police now have the powers they need to keep people safe and protect the most vulnerable members of our community. Sanctions available to the court in relation to a breach of self-isolation are significant. In exceptional circumstances courts will be able to award custodial sentences.
Isle of Man Schools remain open.
With effect from 23:59 tonight all Residential Services directly provided by Adult Social Care will close to non-essential visitors, this will include:
- Resource Centres for Older People – Southlands (Port St Mary), Reayrt Ny Baie (Douglas) and Cummal Mooar (Ramsey)
- Dementia Care and Support Services – Thie Meanagh (including Sweetbriar) Douglas, Gansey Unit (Port St Mary), Langness Unit (Port St Mary) and Reayrt Skyal (Ramsey)
- All Learning Disability Residential Community Homes
- Day Services for Older People (Douglas, Onchan, Ramsey, Peel and Port St Mary)
- Dementia Day Care Services (Douglas, Ramsey and Port St Mary)
Adult Social Care is working with colleagues across all sectors to ensure that the appropriate level of support and need is identified and met.