Covid: Probe into outbreak linked to Isle of Man ferry crew

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Ben-my-ChreeImage source, IOMSPC
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The current Covid-19 outbreak is believed to stem from a member of the ferry crew

A full investigation into an outbreak of Covid-19 on the Isle of Man that stemmed from an infected ferry crew member has been launched, the chief minister has said.

More than 100 coronavirus cases on the island are known to be linked to the person who tested positive in February.

Howard Quayle said he wanted to "get to the bottom" of what led to the outbreak.

The review is likely to be completed by the end of April.

Prior to the outbreak, a notice had been issued by the government to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company requiring all staff to isolate when on the island, but it was later found that only UK crew were doing so.

Earlier this month, Mr Quayle said the company would face "no further action" as it had been a misunderstanding.

However, he told Tynwald on Tuesday he was "not ruling out" any additional investigations.

The new review, which will be independent from those involved in the island's border protocols, will be compiled by the Treasury's audit advisory division.

Image source, IOM GOVERNMENT
Image caption,
Howard Quayle said the review would get to the bottom of the current outbreak

A new testing regime was implemented for crew members after the outbreak, which allows Manx-based staff to avoid self-isolation.

Air and sea crews have also been prioritised for vaccination.

Laurie Hooper MHK said he was not convinced that the review could "be described as independent" under the circumstances.

The public was "entitled to a truly independent" report, he added.

Mr Quayle said the investigation team had the "experience required" and the review would be "sufficiently" separate.

The island went into lockdown on 3 March after a surge in Covid cases that could not be definitively linked to the ferry cluster.

The island recorded its first Covid-19 death in more than four months on Friday, taking the death toll to 26.

A total of 1,350 people on the island have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic.

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