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Controlling Covid – how authorities have tackled coronavirus in the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey

Controlling Covid – how authorities have tackled coronavirus in the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey

Jan 13, 2021

As well as helping customers across the UK mainland to compare cheap life insurance and find the right protection, we also work with Isle of Man life insurance customers, and people looking for life insurance in Jersey and Guernsey.

Over recent months, it’s been clear from speaking to our customers in the Isle of Man and Channel Islands that their experience of the pandemic has been vastly different to that of people on the UK mainland.

For example, we spoke to a customer in the early summer of 2020 who was heading out for a meal to celebrate her daughter’s birthday after she finished our call, accompanied by friends and family. This was at a time when all pubs and restaurants in the UK were closed and we couldn’t meet up with anyone other than our own households.

So, how did these Crown Dependencies deal with coronavirus, and how different was the response to the UK mainland? Read on to find out more.

 

Isle of Man

The authorities confirmed the first Covid-19 case on the Isle of Man on 19 March 2020, almost a month after the first patient in England had been diagnosed.

The first Isle of Man patient had returned from a trip to Spain four days previously, via a flight through Liverpool. A week later, two Covid-19 patients were admitted to Noble’s Hospital.

To control the spread of coronavirus, the Isle of Man government started to “require everyone to stay at home except for limited reasons” on 26 March 2020, several days after the United Kingdom imposed similar restrictions.

On 3 June 2020, the government announced that there were no active cases on the island. Consequently, on 15 June 2020, the authorities permitted gatherings of up to 30 people. Restaurants, pubs, and cafés were allowed to serve food, and gyms were partially opened.

No cases were reported for three months, before a new case was identified on the Isle of Man on 3 September. A trickle of new cases was identified and contained during the last few months of 2020 but, with the exception of the border being closed to most non-residents, the island was free from restrictions since social distancing was lifted on 15 June until the end of 2020.

However, after authorities identified several new cases in the first week of January 2021, the government announced a second Isle of Man lockdown.

All gatherings were banned from 7 January 2021, and schools, non-essential shops and hospitality venues shut for 21 days. Chief Minister Howard Quayle also asked residents to socially distance and wear face coverings while away from their homes.

Mr Quayle raised the island’s border restrictions to the highest level and strongly advised against all travel off the island.

As of early January 2021, a total of 387 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the Isle of Man since March, 25 of whom died.

The most high-profile breach of the island’s coronavirus restrictions saw a Scottish man jailed after he rode a jet-ski from Scotland to the Isle of Man to see his girlfriend.

Despite coronavirus rules banning non-residents from entering the Isle of Man without special permission, 28-year-old roofer Dale McLaughlan made the four-and-a-half-hour journey by jet-ski despite never having driven a personal watercraft before. He had expected the journey to take 40 minutes, prosecutors said.

McLaughlan admitted arriving unlawfully on the island and was sentenced to four weeks in jail. Deputy high bailiff Christopher Arrowsmith said McLaughlan’s “deliberate and intentional attempt to circumnavigate” the restrictions had posed a risk to himself and the island’s residents.

 

Jersey

Authorities confirmed the first two coronavirus cases in Jersey on 10 and 11 March 2020 and, by 20 March 2020, there were ten confirmed cases in Jersey. Health officials believed that two of these cases had been contracted within Jersey rather than by inbound travel.

Just over a week later, on 29 March, the Chief Minister announced a lockdown, effective from 8 am on 30 March. Islanders had to to stay at home other than for short periods for specific purposes unless they were employed in an essential function.

There were 169 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Jersey by 6 April 2020 and, on 15 April 2020, Charlie Parker, Chief Executive of the Government of Jersey, stated that there were 21 patients with Covid-19 being treated at the Jersey General Hospital with eight others ‘elsewhere in other hospital settings’.

Lockdown measures continued on the island until 11 May 2020, when a gradual relaxation of the rules came into force.

Initially, residents could leave their homes for up to six hours a day and to meet with up to five people per day from other households. Two-metre physical distancing continued to be required outside the home and extremely vulnerable people were required to self-isolate.

A week later, the government announced that all retail premises could open, if they maintained two-metre physical distancing. And, on 29 May 2020, the authorities lifted restrictions on time spent outside, and people were permitted to enter other peoples’ homes provided no more than five others enter the home.

By 30 June 2020 there were no known active cases and more than 15,000 tests had been conducted in total.

However, after the number of new cases began to climb steadily in October and November, the Chief Minister announced on 30 November 2020 that face masks would be compulsory in shops, supermarkets, banks, on buses and in taxis, in health care settings, at hairdressers and at beauticians. He also asked people to work from home where possible.

These restrictions were increased three days later, with all pubs, bars, restaurants, gyms, and fitness classes ordered to close within 24 hours.

By mid-December, active cases in Jersey passed 700 with care homes closing to visitors to try and stop new cases occurring as the vaccination of care home residents began.

By 31 December 2020 2,760 cases had been identified of which 556 were active. There had been 44 deaths.

 

Guernsey

Guernsey’s government, the States of Guernsey, has been praised for its transparency and for the clarity of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Back in February 2020, the States recommended preventative measures including hand washing, social distancing and avoiding non-essential travel.

The Bailiwick identified their first case on 9 March 2020 and, on 25 March 2020, following the first known instance of on-island transmission, the authorities imposed a lockdown order. This comprised wide-ranging restrictions on the freedom of movement and the closure of facilities and businesses.

By the end of April 2020, the States began easing restrictions. And, from late June, life on the islands of Guernsey largely returned to normal with no restrictions on gatherings and no requirements for people to socially distance or use face coverings.

However, following 129 days with no active cases, a person on their seventh day of self-isolation after arriving from the UK tested positive for Covid-19 on 7 September 2020.

By 23 October, officials had identified a cluster of seven related cases, and between 80 and 100 people had entered self-isolation as a result. There was no evidence of widespread community seeding and, so, life in the Bailiwick has essentially continued as normal.

In January 2020 there are still travel restrictions in place, and anyone arriving on the islands of Guernsey from anywhere in the world must self-isolate for 21 days on arrival, unless they opt to take a test following 13 days of self-isolation and receive a negative result thereafter.

 

Life insurance in Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey

We’re experts in helping customers get the right life insurance in Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. So, if you live in one of these locations, head to our website to find out more about the services we offer, and how we can help Crown Dependency customers.

 

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