Mask-wearing is being reintroduced in health and social care settings operated by Manx Care, following a spike in the community transmission of Covid-19.

This comes days after Manx Care said it was dropping the need for masks in these premises.

Manx Care said in a statement that, after conducting its daily review earlier today, Manx Care is strengthening the protective measures it has in place across its health and social care premises in order to protect staffing levels and service delivery, as well as patients and residents.

This means all staff and visitors will need to wear a fluid-resistant facemask which will be provided at the entrance to health and social care premises.

This applies to Noble’s Hospital, Ramsey Cottage Hospital, Manannan Court, care homes, GP practices, outpatient and community clinics, dentists and opticians.

This is also relevant for staff providing care in people’s own homes, the Ambulance Service and the Patient Transport service.

Paul Moore, Manx Care’s executive director of nursing and governance, said: ‘The steps we have taken today will help to reduce and minimise staff absences due to Covid-19 during the current spike in community transmission, and protect patients and service users too.

‘For the majority of people, Covid-19 remains a mild illness, and the risk of severe disease is very low in the general population. Manx Care will keep this guidance under review and is grateful for the continued cooperation from staff and members of the public.’

Meanwhile, some GP surgeries in the island may be offering a phone or virtual appointment rather than a face-to-face appointment currently due to being short-staffed. People are being encouraged to accept this, as the appointment will be with a practitioner who’s qualified to provide advice or treatment for their condition.

If people can’t attend a booked appointment, they’re being asked to let their surgery know so that this can be re-allocated to someone else.