Coronavirus: Now 'not the time' to relax Isle of Man border restrictions

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image captionThere have been 341 positive coronavirus cases on the Isle of Man

The recent rise in UK coronavirus cases means "now is not the time" to relax the Isle of Man's border restrictions, Chief Minister Howard Quayle has said.

The Manx government is currently at level four of its five-stage plan for reopening the island's borders.

At present, only residents and people with an exemption or using the Guernsey air bridge can travel to the island.

Mr Quayle said the battle against Covid-19 was "far from over" and there could be "no room for complacency".

The Isle of Man scrapped social distancing in June but anyone entering the island must self-isolate, ordinarily for 14 days.

Anyone not complying with the law risks imprisonment or a fine. Several people have been jailed for breaches.

image captionJan Brown has not seen her sister in Scotland since the borders closed in March

BBC News spoke with some Manx residents to gauge public opinion on the government's border restrictions.

Jan Brown, 62, supports them but thinks people will have to learn to "live with this virus" in the future.

She added that "families do need to see each other" and the island should relax restrictions once case numbers in the UK fall.

Meanwhile Hilda Cubbon, 80, said the Isle of Man should "shut down again" until the situation was better in England since coronavirus could "really wipe us out" if it returned to the island.

image captionToni Wheatley said family members should be allowed to the island if the government could do it "safely"

After more than 100 days without a new case, the island has registered five in the last month, the latest of which was confirmed on Friday.

All have involved people who had returned to the island and were self-isolating.

Shop assistant Toni Wheatley's mother is currently isolating at home after travelling off-island.

The 25-year-old said that the current regulations meant new cases did not pose "the threat to the community that it might have done otherwise".

But she said family members should be permitted to come to the Isle of Man as soon as it is deemed safe.

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