Three people who have continued to test positive for coronavirus on the Isle of Man pose “no risk” of transmitting the virus, the health minister has said.
All three are key workers and are continuing to self-isolate, David Ashford said.
The repeat positive results were due to “virus shedding” – it takes time for the dead virus to leave the body, Mr Ashford added.
There have been no new positive cases of Covid-19 for three weeks.
Under the Manx government’s policy, key workers who have had the virus must twice test negative after the symptoms have passed before they can be allowed to return to work.
Swab tests used to diagnose the disease “do not differentiate between live and dead cells”, Mr Ashford explained.
“As a virus dies and its cells separate off from the body it will actually show up as a positive test.
“It doesn’t mean the person is infectious, it doesn’t mean the person can transmit the virus, it means the virus is exiting the body.”
Government policy for key workers will be updated “in the next week or so”, he said, paving the way for the three to return to work.
Mr Ashford warned that despite there being no active cases on the island, the government could not “say with any certainty” that the island was “Covid-free”.
“We know from studies around the world that a lot of people either don’t present symptoms at all, or they develop such low level symptoms that they dismiss it as something else,” he added.