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Island has 'very high' protection level against Omicron

Public Health says vaccination is preventing symptomatic illness

The Isle of Man's population has 'very strong' protection against Omicron.

That's according to the director of public health.

Almost all Coronavirus cases recorded on the Island are now the new variant of Covid-19 – it gives an R – or reproduction – number of 3.66; the highest in the British Isles.

Despite the figures Dr Henrietta Ewart says, after a successful vaccine rollout programme, there is good protection against symptomatic illness:

Whilst the health service may not be overrun by Covid patients needing treatment it is, however, experiencing significant difficulties with staffing.

Manx Care has reverted to telephone appointments across a number of services – Manx Radio has asked for a breakdown of those affected but the information has not been provided.

Health and Social Care Minister Lawrie Hooper says it’s unclear how long that pressure can be sustained:

This week schools too are facing a staffing crisis despite returning for the new term just four days ago.

Head teachers at a number of secondary schools have reported serious issues with staff absence.

Today year nine pupils at St Ninian’s High School have been told to study from home – something the head teacher admits is because he’s ‘exhausted all other contingencies’.

With concerns that cases will continue to climb, as the virus takes hold in schools, Dr Ewart says it's time to bring back the 'swiss cheese' approach:

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