Well over 600 residents have returned to the Island each week since the Government eased its Borders policy to allow non-essential travel off Island.
A total of 2559 residents arrived in the Island in the period 20 July – the date the Borders policy moved to Level 4 – and 12 August. Returning residents must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
Officers from the newly-formed Travel Notification Service are responsible for contacting residents by phone and in person once they are home, to monitor compliance with the requirement. More than one in every three people self-isolating during the period received a phone call and 145 were visited.
A recent increase in the number of officers authorised to make spot checks means all individuals currently in self-isolation will receive a call during their 14 day period.
Chief Minister Howard Quayle told B365: ‘We have great confidence that the vast majority of residents who return to the Island follow self-isolation rules to the letter, for the sake of the wider community. Our prolonged Covid-free status is the result of superb levels of compliance by the public during the pandemic and I am grateful for everyone’s efforts.
‘The new service requires significant resources and it has taken time to build capacity. We must ensure that the team is properly trained for the very specific job we want them to do. The Travel Notification Service swung into operation once we made the decision to move to level 4, but didn’t expect to be able to contact each individual from day one. Now that resources have been strengthened, everyone can expect to get a call and the number of home visits will increase.
The Chief Minister added: ‘I cannot over emphasise the importance to our Manx community that everyone who travels off Island must self-isolate when they return. This is our main defence against another outbreak of Covid-19 in the community. Spot checks are an important deterrent but they don’t provide a guarantee that people will comply for the full two-week period. We rely on people’s honesty and willingness to do the right thing. The rules of engagement are clear and I urge anyone considering a trip off Island to understand the commitment required to stay home when they return.’
Each person returning to the Island receives a Direction Notice setting out the requirement for them to self-isolate. In addition to phone calls, unscheduled visits are made to the addresses of a randomly generated list of people required to self-isolate. If a person is not at their address and cannot be contacted – or is found to be in breach of the rules – officers will contact the police.
Members of the public who have concerns about an individual’s compliance with self-isolation can contact the Community Support and Information line on 686262. The maximum penalty for breaching the requirements is on summary conviction, three months’ imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding £10,000.