Behind the Borders: Why has the Isle of Man had to lock down again?

The Isle of Man spent just over a month with no on-Island restrictions before being forced back into a lockdown. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Just one short month ago, the Isle of Man was the British Isles beacon of hope.

Many in the UK and further afield gazed across to the Manx shores with envy as a glimpse of what their future may hold.

Schools, shops, restaurants and pubs all open and people living a life.

But in the space of just four weeks, the Isle of Man has been forced into a third lockdown with a risk that the worst is yet to come.

PRIDE BEFORE THE FALLThe Isle of Man came out of its first ‘circuit-break’ lockdown on 1st February.

Islanders were then living the COVID-free life until a UK-based worker of the Steam Packet Company (SPC) tested positive for Covid-19.

A further Manx crew member than went on to test positive, which suggested rules may had been broken when it came to crews mixing.

Meetings were then held after a 'breakdown' in adherence to the self-isolation rules within the SPC, with talks concluding there was 'miscommunication' between the Company and the Isle of Man Government.

The first major warning sign then came on Saturday after two cases were detected that were not linked to anyone already in isolation.

And by the end of the weekend, a further four unexplained cases.

Backed into a corner, the government then announced a 21-day circuit break lockdown similar to the one the island came out of on 1st February.

Decisions locked in, lockdown implemented.


Today, 17 new cases were recorded - the highest daily increase in new cases since April last year.

It also takes the total active cases to 70 with three people now in hospital.

Many now worry that these stats are only going to increase, potentially to figures the Island hasn't experienced through the entire pandemic.

Some of these cases have been directly linked to the crew member of the ferry, while many currently remain unexplained.

What is certain is the control the government once had when it came to tracking the virus, has gone.

The Chief Minister was still adamant action was taken as quickly as possible, despite admitting there were already four unexplained cases before lockdown was implemented.

Whereas before, the Manx public have generally united in an Island-wide mission to beat the virus, this time feels different - the Manx mood has shifted.

On the now rare occasions you leave the house, the atmosphere is clouded with resentment and a feeling this could have been avoided.

As optimism remains at the forefront of the UK approach, hope now dwindles here on the Island.

Living back in a lockdown that has the potential to be the worst the Island has seen since the beginning - with no clear end in sight.