New cases of COVID-19 point to possible community spread – public asked to stay at home

Nine new cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the Isle of Man.  Six of the cases relate to the recently identified cluster and all six individuals were already in self-isolation.  One of the cases is an individual already self-isolating following travel to the Island.

 The remaining two cases cannot as yet be explained, indicating there may a low level of community spread of the virus. All individuals will continue to self-isolate with their households and further tests will be offered.  

The Council of Ministers has met to discuss the situation and taken advice from officers and public health.  Contact tracing has been underway overnight and is continuing which may in time help to give a clearer picture of the situation. Whilst the situation continues to unfold, the Council of Ministers, supported by Public Health have decided that as a precautionary measure, the public should be advised to take precautions including avoiding household mixing, staying home where possible, and not to visit a Health and Care setting unless absolutely necessary.   

The Chief Minister, Howard Quayle MHK said: “There is a risk that there is a level of community transmission, with unexplained cases not linked to the existing cluster, now underway. As a precautionary measure we are asking the public, with immediate effect, to stay at home where possible, stay safe, and avoid mixing households.

“We recognise there are a large number of events planned for today and tonight and we would ask all event organisers to postpone these.   Ultimately, this is a precautionary measure for now and we will continue to review the situation as more information develops.

For now the advice has to be to exercise caution, be careful, stay safe and stay at home where you can.” 

A victim of today’s developments has been the Extraordinary Islanders presentation event scheduled for this evening at The Nunnery. Organisers, Isle of Man Advertising say the event will be re-scheduled when it’s safe to do so.

A media briefing took place at 3pm this afternoon and a further briefing will be scheduled tomorrow with updated information on the contact tracing process. The current number of active cases of COVID-19 on the Island is 49.