1 April: COVID-19 Update

National Updates

International travel

The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced new guidance and measures for people returning from abroad. This included a pledge of £75m to charter flights to places where commercial flights have stopped running. If flights are still running where you are, the government has advised to contact your airline as soon as possible to get on the first available flight. Where routes have been cancelled, the government says the airline has a responsibility to offer alternatives flights. This includes allowing passengers to change tickets, including between carriers.

If you or someone you know is still abroad and are having difficulties in returning to the UK, please get in touch with Alistair’s office.

There have also been reports of airlines refusing to refund tickets where they have been cancelled, sometimes offering vouchers instead. Rules vary internationally, but if your flight began or ended within the EU, you have an explicit right to a full cash refund – our understanding is that this no longer applies to UK-only flights now that we have left the EU. Alistair has written to the Secretary of State for Transport to confirm if the government intends to create a policy on refunds in the future.


The ‘Scotland Cares’ campaign has been launched to encourage people to volunteer during the coronavirus pandemic. People who are healthy and not at risk can volunteer to provide practical or emotional help to those most in need.

There are three options which are signposted from the Ready Scotland website:

  • returning NHS workers will be directed to existing voluntary arrangements in NHS Scotland
  • people wishing to offer their support to our public services, including the NHS and local authorities, will be directed to a site co-ordinated by the British Red Cross
  • those looking for opportunities with other charities or community groups in their area will be directed to Volunteer Scotland for information

Screening Programmes

The Scottish Government has announced that due to the rapidly changing situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19), there is to be a temporary pause a number of screening programmes. These are:

  • Breast Screening (mammograms)
  • Cervical Screening (smear tests)
  • Bowel Screening (home test kits)
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening (ultrasound of abdomen)
  • Diabetic Retinopathy (Eye) Screening (images taken of the eye).

Pregnancy and Newborn Screening Programmes, including tests offered during pregnancy and just after birth, will continue where logistically practical.

No additional patients will be invited for screening until further notice. Results for those who have recently been screened or who have completed and returned home test kits will continue to be processed.

The suspension is temporary and will be formally reviewed after 12 weeks, or earlier if indicated by the evidence.


Local Updates

Children and Vulnerable Adults

With the closure of schools, nurseries and other services during the current coronavirus pandemic, Child Protection Committees Scotland is urging everyone to keep their eyes and ears open for children and vulnerable adults who may be at risk during this time.

Anyone in Shetland who is concerned about a child or vulnerable adult should contact Children's Social Work on 01595 744420 during office hours, Adult Social Work on 01595  744468 or for out of hours contact 01595 695611 or call the police on 101.

Waste guidance

SIC has issued new guidance for house households where one or more occupants have coronavirus related symptoms.

  • Place all contaminated items produced, including tissues, cleaning cloths, wipes and masks in a plastic bag. Tie the bag securely to ensure all materials are safely contained.
  • Put the bag inside another bag and tie the top of the bag.
  • Keep the double bagged waste for 72 hours in a place that cannot be accessed by other people or pets.
  • After the 72 hour period has passed, put the bag(s) in your non-recyclable (individual or communal) waste bin or bruck box for collection by the crew.  If you do not have a bruck box or wheelie bin please only place black bags on the kerbside on your scheduled day of collection.  Ensure bags are accessible to the collection crew, but minimises general public contact where possible.
  • If you have an assisted collection, bag waste as described above, and put it out at your usual assisted collection point.

Waste Services can be contacted at [email protected] or by phone on 01595 744891


Frequently Asked Questions

Businesses Registered at Domestic Premises

Beatrice has written to Scottish Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, to ask that the Coronavirus Business Support Fund Criteria be reassessed to ensure that those who run their business from or have their business registered at domestic premises can access financial support.


Beatrice has clarified with Northlink that seasonal agricultural workers will be permitted to travel by ferry to Shetland provided they have evidence of their need to travel.


What to do if you have symptoms

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature.

If you have symptoms that are causing serious concern call NHS 24 on 111.

If you have mild symptoms or require more information visit www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus or call the special helpline on 0800 028 2816. If you require a sick note due to coronavirus, you can get this from the NHS Inform website.



You can email us at:

[email protected]
[email protected]

Phone: 01595 690 044





Shetland Parliamentary Office, 171 Commercial St, Lerwick, ZE1 0HX

We will get back to you as soon as we can.

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