Covid-19 Coronavirus

Statement by the Chief Minister on COVID-19 – 27 March 2020

Friday, 27 March 2020

I know that many of you were moved by the video from our health and social care colleagues that we showed yesterday evening. I know many of you also joined in the outpouring of thanks for them last night at 8pm. They are indeed heroes. And we must not forget the housekeepers and other support staff who perform such an essential role in keeping everyone safe.

There are so many people who have stepped up.

We must not forget our other emergency service colleagues – and the civilian staff who support them. They are working to protect us all.

We need to give them the space to do this. They have told us that road traffic accidents take up a significant amount of their time. So we have taken action.

The Council of Ministers has therefore today decided to bring in a temporary speed limit across the Island of 40 miles per hour from midnight tonight.

We also agreed to keep under review a possible reduction of 30 mph zones to 20 if necessary.

Our primary objective has been, and will continue to be, the preservation of life. We will continue to listen to our professionals. We will continue to take action.

As I have said on a number of occasions now - including in Tynwald earlier this afternoon – I am extremely grateful for all the work that people in our food retail and related sectors are doing. Too often their contribution is not recognised. They deserve our thanks and respect.

People will have seen reports of an arrest made yesterday in one of our supermarkets. I will not be commenting on the specifics of this. This is a policing matter. It is important that the police have operational independence.

The Chief Constable has said that the Police will be maintaining a high profile presence over the coming weeks and anyone who plays fast and loose with the law, putting their own, and others' lives at risk, will be dealt with appropriately.

I fully appreciate that queuing outside supermarkets is far from ideal. But as our clinical professionals have told us – and as I have said here on a number of occasions – social distancing is the single most effective thing we can all do to reduce the spread of the virus.

I would like to thank everyone who is showing patience and understanding. But I do need to reiterate that we will not tolerate any abuse of other customers or staff.

My thanks to everyone who is doing so much for our community.

There is an impressive national effort underway.

I would like to repeat the message that I left with members of Tynwald.

We need to continue to pull together. Work together. Support each other.

And wherever possible stay at home to protect our most vulnerable. Do this today. Save lives.

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