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Coronavirus / Islanders asked to stay vigilant as tests for coronavirus continue

PEOPLE IN Shetland have been advised to continue to be vigilant and follow all the published health care advice after no new cases of coronavirus were reported in the isles over the last 24 hours.

Two local residents who have recently returned from Italy were tested positive on Monday and remain in self-isolation at their home.

Health officials at NHS Shetland said on Wednesday afternoon that “potentially” more positive test results could be come through over the next days.

Speaking at a press briefing at Montfield on Wednesday afternoon, NHS Shetland director of community health and social care Simon Bokor-Ingram said the health board was not in a position to say how many people have been tested for the virus locally.

Nationally, more than 2,000 people have been tested for coronavirus so far with 36 identified as being infected by the virus.

He said the health board has a small team working on contacting and assessing people who have been in contact with the two confirmed cases. If deemed necessary they will be asked to attend the new coronavirus testing facility outside the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

“The contact tracing relies on the information individuals are giving. At the moment they are coping with the volume of tracing that they need to do,” Bokor Ingram said.

He continued saying that preparatory work on increasing the number of beds in the hospital, if needed, was ongoing. There are no intensive care beds in the Gilbert Bain.

“If we get an increase in demand we have been planning how we would increase the number of beds available in the hospital in order to accommodate people who need to come in,” he said.

Meanwhile the health protection advice is exactly the same as it was on previous days, Bokor Ingram added.

“It’s about good hygiene practices, about using disposable tissues when people are coughing and sneezing, and it’s about hand washing which is really important,” he said.

Loganair has confirmed that the company has deep-cleaned the aircraft the two confirmed cases had travelled back to Shetland last week, and fellow passengers have been contacted via e-mail.

Airline chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “The crew have been advised but have not been isolated. We will work with them to obtain all appropriate medical advice and assist them where practicable if they are required to self-isolate.

“Loganair complies with all Public Health Scotland, EASA and IATA recommendations for air travel and will continue to do so.”