Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Coronavirus: Isle of Man to close borders in bid 'to preserve life'

Ben-my-Chree Image copyright Manxscenes.com
Image caption The final ferry will arrive from Heysham at 06:00 GMT on Friday

The Isle of Man is to close its borders to new arrivals in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus, said the government.

The final flight will land on Thursday evening, while the last ferry will dock at 06:00 GMT the next morning.

All but essential shops will close and anyone disobeying social distancing guidelines will be fined.

Chief Minister Howard Quayle said the primary objective of the new measures was the "preservation of life".

"The situation is changing fast. Not just on the island but also across in the United Kingdom," he said.

"We are hearing the intense pressure they are under. The National Health Service is straining. Our island is smaller. Our resources are more limited."

He added: "Despite the excellent preparations across our own health and social care sectors, we need to accept that there is every likelihood that a moment will come where we are under these same pressures.

"I chaired an emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers this afternoon. We have decided that now is the right moment for us to move to the next stage of our plan."

Freight will continue to come to the island and some exceptions will be made for the mail plane, people travelling for medical treatment and anyone "necessary for critical national infrastructure" with prior permission.

All schools on the Isle of Man closed earlier this week to most pupils and the island closed its borders to non-residents on Monday.

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