Liberal Vannin, the leading political party in the Isle of Man, has written to the UK Government proposing the creation of a Coronavirus Medal for Service to be issued to recognise the service of the brave people who are doing our nations so proud during the current coronavirus pandemic. Because this issue is above party politics, we have invited the Manx Government, all members of Tynwald and other Manx political groups to support this initiative.
We are grateful to the thousands of dedicated workers across the private and public sectors. The nurses, doctors, and frontline medical staff of our community are demonstrating truly heroic spirit and are putting themselves in harms’ way. We are also grateful to the cleaners and social workers, prison and police officers, those in our mail services and in our schools. We are grateful to the factory workers and the office workers who are feeding our nations, equipping our nations and serving our nations. In this united national effort, we are also grateful to the volunteers who are delivering food and prescription drugs to more than one million of the most vulnerable people who are self-isolating for many months.
The Coronavirus Medal for Service would be a spiritual and honorific recognition of the value of the service by many people in their efforts to fight the current pandemic. It is entirely independent of appropriate economic and financial remuneration for staff of the frontline, which remains a separate domestic issue for consideration by the British and Manx communities.
The Coronavirus pandemic is, we hope and pray, a once-in-a-generation event, and it would be appropriate to recognise community service of this nature. Consequently, in light of the admirable service by so many people of our Isles, we ask that the British Government and Her Majesty the Queen, Lord of Mann, take steps at the appropriate time to recognise their valour and service through the creation of the Coronavirus Medal for Service.
The current Coronavirus pandemic represents an analogous situation, with many British and Manx people putting themselves at considerable personal risk to combat the virus. The coronavirus outbreak is the most devastating pandemic of modern times, and at the time of writing on 21 April, it is likely to cause more British and Manx deaths than any other event outside the two world wars.
While the Coronavirus is virulent and causing much harm, the spirit of our nations has been strong and determined. Many people throughout our community have sacrificed much: from staff on the front-line of our medical facilities, through to neighbours caring for the most vulnerable, through to many other essential workers serving others. Further, many people of our Isles have demonstrated a quiet courage in sacrificing their economic security and safety by staying at home – all to save others.
While service medals have primarily been awarded to defence personnel, the Ebola Medal for Service in West Africa was created in 2015 to
“recognise the bravery and hard work of thousands of people who helped to tackle Ebola in West Africa”.
As the British Government said at the time, the medal was awarded to over 3,000 people who travelled from the UK to work in high risk areas of West Africa to stop the spread of the disease. This was the first time a British medal specifically recognised those who have tackled a humanitarian crisis and was issued by the Government in recognition of the highly dangerous environment that workers were required to enter. The medal was issued to members of the Armed Forces and to civilians, working either for Her Majesty’s Government or for non-governmental organisations, in support of the British Government’s response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.