National newspaper says local politicians lobbying for Island to leave lock-down early

Local politicians are seeking to persuade the Government that the Isle of Wight should become a test-bed for lockdown-easing measures according to a national newspaper.  Today’s Daily Telegraph reports that both Bob Seely MP and Dave Stewart, Leader of the Isle of Wight Council have been lobbying ministers in support of the plan.

The news follows an interview on yesterday’s BBC 4’s Today programme in which bacteriologist, Professor Hugh Pennington, claimed that the Shetland and Orkney isles would make good areas to test the lifting of restrictions because of their low rates of infection and restricted access.

The Isle of Wight has had 73 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 14 deaths announced. This figure does not include deaths outside hospitals with the number of deaths in care homes being a particular cause for concern.

Ministers have said that national lockdown restrictions will remain in place until they are sure secondary waves of the infections will not occur.

Bob Seely is reported to have told the Telegraph: “The island is generally liked by social scientists because it is an isolated community. The ferries are now down to an essential service, so you can pretty much track every human being that comes off and on the island.”

Dave Stewart is quoted as saying: “We have 140,000 people on the Isle of Wight and we are an ideal pilot location for the Government to try out a whole community test.”

It is not known what incentives might be available from the Government in exchange for the Island volunteering to act as a test-bed for the lifting of restrictions.

Mr Seely and Mr Stewart have been contacted for comment.