Coronavirus: Manx students should 'come back now', advises education minister

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image copyrightLOGANAIR
image captionLoganair currently carries patients travelling to UK hospitals for appointments

Manx students have been urged to "come back now" to the island by Education Minister Alex Allinson.

"There are drawbridges being drawn up all over the world and we cannot be left behind," he told a special Tynwald meeting dominated by coronavirus.

Easyjet and Aer Lingus have ended flights to and from the Isle of Man, but the government said it was "confident" Loganair, which operates patient transfers, would continue.

Steam Packet ferries are also running.

Regular services between Douglas and Heysham, Lancashire will continue, a government spokesman said.

The island's ports were closed to non-residents on Monday.

Dr Allinson said: "I'd like to appeal to those university students who are still in the UK, I know many of them are due to come back, my message would be to come back now.

"We need you, we need your skills, but come back now. There are drawbridges being drawn up all over the world and we cannot be left behind.

"We must protect our country but also be mindful of those that are trying to get back in a time of crisis."

Disruption

Emergency laws mean everyone arriving on the island must self-isolate for 14 days or face prosecution.

In a statement, the government said: "Any Isle of Man residents who wish to get back to the island should plan their travel carefully.

"Whilst the government is confident that flights operated by Loganair will continue, it is possible that some airports in the UK may close which could cause some disruption to schedules."

A Loganair spokesman said the company was "in dialogue with the Isle of Man government regarding its current interim solution".

The airline currently carries patients to Liverpool for appointments at UK hospitals.

Easyjet's flights to Liverpool, Bristol and Belfast were halted on Monday, while Aer Lingus' flights to Dublin came to an end on Tuesday.

The collapse of Flybe last month saw the loss of all of the island's connections to Manchester and Birmingham, as well as a reduction in flights to and from Liverpool.

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