Behind the Borders: Why is the Isle of Man recording its highest number of Covid-19 active cases?

The Isle of Man has recorded its highest number of active cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Credit: ITV News/Ron Strathdee

For the majority of the pandemic, the Island was shut off from the rest of world - hidden away behind the protection of its closed borders.

There was a time when case numbers were at 0 - a time that many would describe as the 'height of the pandemic' for the rest of the world.

Another time when the Island locally eliminated the virus in 25 short days during its globally-publicised 'circuit-break lockdown'.

But now the 'elimination strategy' has been abandoned, and a 'mitigation strategy' has taken its place.

And as active cases of Covid-19 rise higher than ever before, the government is doing its utmost to reassure the public that this is all part of the plan.

Isle of Man Chief Minister Howard Quayle and Health Minister David Ashford. Credit: Isle of Man Government


The one thing that the Isle of Man has always taken great pride in is the ability to take control of who is travelling into the Island - something which has undoubtedly been the best defence against the Covid-19 pandemic.

But after 16 months, the Isle of Man Government made the decision to reopen the borders to all, putting full confidence into the effectiveness of the vaccination rollout.

89% of the Island's population aged 18 or over have had the first dose.

As I write this, there are little to no on-Island Covid-19 restrictions for the majority of the population of the Isle of Man.

Social distancing is not required, mask wearing is not mandatory and many people's lives are back to 'normal'.

Anyone can enter the Island - those double-jabbed can walk straight in without any testing, isolation or regulation.

But as a result, the number of active cases has risen to the highest they have ever been and continue to increase day by day.

So why is this once overly-cautious government now content with case numbers going up?

Whereas previously many Manx residents (including myself) were repeatedly checking Covid figures, those in government are saying we only need to be concerned about two - hospital admissions and deaths.

While active cases may be breaking records, the number of people in hospital has not reached that of any previous peak, giving some evidence that the vaccine is working.

And thankfully, there have been no recorded deaths since March 2021.

For many in the Island, their freedom has been largely granted.

Those in government have now moved to encouraging 'personal responsibility', but there is a fine line between letting people make their own decisions and shirking responsibility as leaders.

A government that, rightly or wrongly, spent so long collectively shielding the population from the virus, now allowing it to reach every corner of a once largely untouched Island.

If the effectiveness of the vaccine hadn't been previously tested enough, it certainly will be now.