Failures in communication and the interpretation of Covid-19 advice for ferry crew members contributed to the Isle of Man’s third lockdown, a report has revealed.
The March lockdown came after an outbreak stemming from an Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IOMSPC) worker .
At its peak, there were 881 active cases, and four people died.
Chief Minister Howard Quayle said the report showed the government “didn’t get everything right”.
The document was commissioned after differing views were expressed by IOMSPC bosses and government over what action crew members should have been taking.
The report found while director of public health Henrietta Ewart wanted all staff to self-isolate when not on shift, the relevant documentation had not been issued by the Cabinet Office for island-based crew.
‘Mistakes were made’
It said the company’s initial focus had been the risk passengers posed to Manx crew members rather than that of UK-based staff, and face coverings in non-public areas were not formally required until 18 January.
The document also said Ms Ewart had too much responsibility, leading to delays in communication and the issuing of documentation, and contact tracing had failed to close down the outbreak after crew members not identified as high risk contacts developed the virus.
Although entry certificates and exemptions for Manx crews were not valid at the time, staff had “acted in good faith” and it was “highly unlikely that any action would be enforceable” against them, it added.
Recommendations include regular meetings between IOMSPC and government, an update of the company’s risk assessment, the creation of a rapid response plan to future positive cases to include isolation and testing for all crew, and more resources for public health.
Mr Quayle said: “We weren’t always as joined-up as we should have been and perhaps inevitably, mistakes were made.”
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