Behind the Borders: The day the government lifted all Covid-19 restrictions in the Isle of Man

After two years of social distancing, mask wearing and limitations on when and where we can travel, the Isle of Man Government has removed all Covid-19 restrictions.

For many people, that means life returns to some sort of normality.

Residents can reunite, businesses can resume and Islanders can travel freely.

Thinking back to March 2020 when the drawbridge came up, I don't think anyone on-Island imagined restrictions would remain in place for a year, let alone two.

Within that time, the Island has seen three official 'lockdowns', a general election, two cancelled TT fortnights and a new Chief Minister.

A man who believes now is the right time to be removing all Covid restrictions when I asked him if it was safe enough.

While many welcome the removal of government intervention, there are some who remain skeptical.

Questions around the long-term effect of lockdowns, the fragile state of the economy and those who are still feeling the effects of the virus remain unanswered.

The latest Covid-19 figures certainly suggest the rates of transmission are some of the highest in recent times.

Active cases are up to 1,538, with 187 new cases in the last 24 hours.

There are also currently 20 people in hospital with Covid-19, with a second coronavirus ward opened this week to manage the higher numbers of people in hospital with the virus.

However, public health teams say the emphasis should be less on numbers, and more on trends.

Data suggests the number of cases has increased sharply over March 2022. Credit: Isle of Man Government

Protection in Healthcare

Despite the government's decision to remove Covid measures, healthcare settings are remaining vigilant.

As a separate organisation from the government, Manx Care is continuing to enforce mask wearing, social distancing and has suspended all hospital visits.

CEO of Manx Care, Teresa Cope, said: "We're in step with all other hospitals across in the UK who are trying to manage this very careful balancing act of returning to some form of normality, whilst also making sure we are protecting vulnerable patients in our care".

Noble's Hospital has also had to open a second Covid ward due to the higher number of patients being admitted with Covid-19.

While the thought of Covid-19 may diminish for many, it's these pockets of society where the virus will continue to be at the forefront of decision making.

Noble's Hospital is the main hospital site for the Island and now has two wards dedicated to patients with Covid-19. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Regardless of whether people agree or disagree with the move, today marks a major milestone in the Island's fight against Covid.

A move to endemic approach - treating the virus like other illnesses that people experience every year.

Not necessarily the end of the pandemic, but perhaps the first real sign of what might become the new normal.