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Coronavirus / First local Coronavirus cases confirmed

NHS Shetland says all necessary steps to try to contain the virus are being taken

TWO cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Shetland, the Scottish Government has said.

The two people, who recently returned from Italy, are in self-isolation.

There are currently 23 confirmed cases in Scotland.

NHS Shetland, meanwhile, has moved to reassure the public by saying that clinicians have begun gathering details of the places the two patients have visited and the people they have been in contact with since returning to the UK.

A spokeswoman for the health board said health protection teams would contact those who are deemed to be at risk from the current cases, and also advised that those who are not contacted are not at risk.

NHS Shetland interim medical director Brian Chittick said it was important to note that this does not involve people the patients may have passed on the street or in a shop as the risk in these situations is very low.

Close contact involves either face to face contact or spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of an infected person, he said.

“While we recognise people may feel anxious about coronavirus, we would like to offer reassurance that we are taking all the necessary steps to try and contain the virus,” Chittick said.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Shetland Islands Council reiterated that there were no plans to close any of the islands’ schools.

“The council is advising pupils, parents, staff and the general public to follow NHS guidance,” he said.

The guidance is as follows:

  • If you are feeling under the weather with a fever, cough and shortness of breath AND you have either been in direct contact with a confirmed case OR you have travelled back from a category 1 or 2 risk area, you are asked to phone your GP for advice, or NHS24 (111) if your practice is closed
  • If you do not have symptoms but are keen to know more, please check NHS Inform’s self-help guidance online or call the free helpline on 0800 028 2816. Please help us direct our resources to those that truly need them by using the self-help guidance in the first instance;
  • The public can help and reduce the risk of getting and spreading respiratory infections by staying up to date with the latest health and travel advice on NHS Inform, as well as following basic hygiene precautions;

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Simple steps you can take to try to avoid contracting the virus:

  • avoiding direct hand contact with your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • maintaining good hand hygiene – washing hands with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser before eating and drinking, and after coughing, sneezing and going to the toilet;
  • avoiding direct contact with people that have a respiratory illness and avoiding using their personal items such as their mobile phone;
  • covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with disposable tissues and disposing of them in the nearest waste bin after use.

Health Protection Scotland, meanwhile, has issued updated information and guidance for people working in a non-healthcare setting.

Coronavirus – or COVID-19 – is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways.

The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.

There are currently 319 confirmed cases in the UK

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