Covid-19 Coronavirus

Cautious approach maintained on road to lifting border restrictions

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Current border arrangements to protect the Island community from coronavirus will remain in place for the time being, to allow further monitoring of emerging risks.

The Isle of Man COVID-19 Exit Framework allowed an initial change to Level 3 from 1 May 2021, and indicated a potential move to Borders Level 2 on or around 29 May, the second stage of a phased transition to unrestricted travel and one which would support non-residents travelling without prior approval

The date was to be dependent on a number of factors, primarily the prevailing situation in the United Kingdom in case numbers and transmission, and the progress of the vaccination programme in the UK and Isle of Man.

As part of its ongoing progress through the Framework, Government announced two weeks ago that the move to Level 2 would be put back, in view of concerns in the UK about new variants of coronavirus, increasing case numbers and the need for further evidence and data on their transmissibility and impact on hospitalisation.

An interim alternative position was introduced on 24 May which, while not opening the borders to non-residents, reduced isolation requirements for Isle of Man residents, families, partners, property owners and key workers. This has become known as Level 2.5 and under a new 'arrive, isolate and test' regime, individuals may be released within 48 hours with one negative result.

This Level 2.5 is to continue in the short term whilst the broader situation in the UK remains under review.

Chief Minister Howard Quayle said:

'Our progress through the Exit Framework started well and we have made more substantial changes earlier this week with the reduced isolation already been taken up by many hundreds of residents. Confirmation that we are not moving as originally planned on 29 May from Level 2.5 to Level 2 will come as no surprise to most people and the interim position was as a result of current concerns in the UK about the India variant.'

He added:

'At every stage we need to find the right balance and will continue to be cautious and consider the data, to protect our island community and our health and care services. Equally however we are learning to live with the virus and we must progress through our Exit Framework as endorsed by Tynwald, to restore unrestricted travel between the Island and the rest of the British Isles. That means accepting that there will be further cases when our borders re open but we need to be careful how and when we do this. It is Government's job to manage that risk and by managing our transition through the Exit Framework, we are doing just that.

'At present there are concerns in the UK which we must keep in mind and if the situation improves further, we will of course reconsider this position. Our overall goal for the end of June remains our aspiration.'

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