Tynwald members dispute need for Covid report

By Gemma Nettle   |   Reporter   |
Friday 22nd July 2022 2:02 pm
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Juan Watterson (Isle of Man Newspapers )

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Two members of Tynwald have disputed the need for a weekly Covid-19 surveillance report.

Rushen MHK and Speaker of the House of Keys Juan Watterson asked Cabinet Office Minister Kate Lord-Brennan how much longer the Covid surveillance reports will be produced, to which Ms Lord-Brennan said it would continue throughout the summer and winter months.

She added the report would be expanded to include surveillance of other respiratory conditions, such as influenza.

Mr Watterson called them ‘garbage-in and garbage-out reports’, questioning their accuracy and adding that the figures seemed ‘far from reality’ during TT especially.

He wanted to know if the Cabinet Office could give up on the reports altogether or work on improving their accuracy.

Ms Lord-Brennan said: ‘Unless we return to mandating it, we need to rely on people choosing to test.

‘For now, it’s appropriate to stick to the current reporting.’

Mr Watterson still felt there was a lack of encouragement for people to record positive test results and the minister agreed the public needed to be urged once again to continue reporting them.

Bill Henderson MLC also felt it was time to ‘phase out’ reporting of positive results and ‘put all energy into the vaccination programme’.

Ms Lord-Brennan pointed out that ‘surveillance and vaccination are two separate things’ and Public Health would continue to monitor positive results.