Low prevalence of COVID-19 must be protected

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has today reaffirmed calls for testing to be introduced for anyone travelling to Shetland after National Clinical Director, Professor Jason Leitch, talked about protecting island communities who have low infection rates during a committee session. 


During the COVID-19 Committee this morning Leitch said: 

“I would say if Orkney get to single figure numbers, we should protect Orkney from importation from the Scottish mainland. If Scotland gets to low numbers, we should protect Scotland from importation. If the UK gets to low numbers, we should protect the UK from importation and if we can get both islands and our surrounding islands to low numbers, we should protect that whole five countries and we should do that using vaccination, restrictions to our population and importation restrictions.”


Ms Wishart, along with Northern Isles colleagues Liam McArthur MSP and Alistair Carmichael MP, wrote to the Scottish Government last December calling for exploration of options for mass testing at points of entry to the Scottish islands.


Commenting in response, Ms Wishart said: 

“Keeping COVID-19 cases to an absolute minimum is incredibly important to help restrictions in Shetland lift safely and quickly. Prevalence on the islands is currently low and that must be protected. 

“The National Clinical Director has talked about protecting island communities, and constituents repeatedly point out that we have a geographic advantage in stopping the spread of Covid. 

“Getting to the islands is naturally more restricted than to other areas of the country so it seems feasible to test people before they arrive. This could be an effective method to reduce any importation, keep cases low and protect the local community. 

“I wrote to the Scottish Government before Christmas asking for testing to be introduced for anyone coming to Shetland and I am yet to receive a response. I hope the Scottish Government will respond as soon as possible so that we can continue to keep case numbers low”

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