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Coronavirus / Couple who tested positive urges people to support the NHS in its attempt to contain the spread of coronavirus

A LOCAL couple who were Shetland’s first confirmed cases of coronavirus have waived their right to anonymity to publicly thank the NHS for its support as well as dispelling “vicious rumours” that are circulating on social media.

Iain and Suzanne Malcolmson, from Nesting, tested positive on Sunday after returning from the south of Italy on Tuesday last week and developing symptoms of the coronavirus two days later. They were both tested on Friday.

Iain Malcolmson. Photo: Shetland News

In a Facebook post on Thursday evening they praised the support they have received from NHS Shetland staff as “absolutely fantastic at every step of the way”.

The couple has been in self-isolation since last Friday and are being tested regularly by NHS Shetland.

Speaking to Shetland News on Thursday morning Iain said they both felt well looked after by medical staff, and were suffering from mild cold symptoms as well as the first signs of cabin fever.

And in an attempt to set the record straight and to dispel “nasty rumour and wild speculation that spreads all too quickly”, the couple said they had followed the guidelines to the book.

“It was not until the Thursday night [5 March] that I felt unwell with slight cold symptoms. I contacted NHS24, my GP and Public Health Scotland on the Friday morning,” they said in their Facebook post.

“The initial advice was that southern Italy was not a high risk area and therefore we did not need testing.

“However, this information changed on lunchtime Friday when Italy was upgraded. We were advised to self-isolate, and we would be tested. We did this immediately and have not left the house since and have not been partying, or socializing of any kind.

“We specifically checked at this time what the situation was with other family members and were told if they had no symptoms there were fine to carry on with their normal lives and need not self-isolate, but it would be best if they could go and stay with another family member away from us.”

They added: “Both NHS Shetland and Public Health Scotland were gobsmacked when the positive results came in on the Sunday evening.

“At that point we provided as much detail and information as we possibly could to help the health professionals carry out their work.”

“We would do anything to change this situation, and we are desperately worried about friends, family and anyone else who may have been affected.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but that does not change where we are now. We do however know that we did everything we could as per guidance.

“Public health Scotland urges everyone to follow the same principles, however, if the consequence of doing your best and trying to do the right thing is to get vilified by others it will put people off, and this will increase the risk in the long run.”