Coronavirus: UK cases 'biggest threat' to Isle of Man's Covid-19 response

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DouglasImage source, David Kneale
Image caption,
There have been 316 positive cases for coronavirus on the Isle of Man

The prevalence of coronavirus in the UK is the "biggest threat" to the Isle of Man's ability to cope with the pandemic, the chief minister has said.

Howard Quayle told a Tynwald committee that the UK's "high viral load" was a big factor in the island's borders remaining closed.

Since 27 March, only those with prior approval from the Manx government have been allowed to travel to the island.

There have been more than 171,000 positive cases for the virus in the UK.

Earlier this week, Mr Quayle said the opening of the borders would be the last phase of a six-stage process of lifting restrictions.

A total of 316 people have tested positive for the virus on the Isle of Man.

Weekly repatriation sailings from Liverpool have been ongoing since 15 April to return more than 300 residents stranded abroad.

Anyone travelling to the island under the arrangement must complete a 14-day quarantine at a designated hotel with just one hour of outdoor exercise permitted each day.

Cheryl Myers was on the first repatriation sailing after becoming stuck under lockdown measures in New Zealand while on honeymoon with her husband Paul.

Mrs Myers said she understood the "government had to be cautious" but added that aspects such as the police escort to the hotel were "unnecessary".

"We felt maybe it was a bit of a PR stunt," she added.

Mr Quayle said the process was "not perfect" but it had to be "done under the most stringent conditions".

He added that the scheme was "being continuously reviewed" and may be amended in the next two weeks but only "when we have good medical data".

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