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Coronavirus / Number of coronavirus cases continues to rise

THE NUMBER of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Shetland has risen to 24.

The latest update of known infections comes as the number of fatalities across Scotland doubles from three to six. There are now 266 confirmed cases in Scotland.

The increase in confirmed cases is further evidence underlining the need of social distancing in an effort to reduce the rate of infection and to flatten the curve of projected deaths from the disease.

With 227 cases confirmed Thursday, figures from the Scottish Government show that the infection rate in Scotland stood at 0.00417 per cent of the population. There are of course many more cases of coronavirus which are not included in these statistics.

With 24 known cases in Shetland, the local infection rate is much higher and stands at around 0.1 per cent or one in 1,000 islanders.

Medical evidence suggests that without self-isolating and social distancing the number of people getting infected would double every two to three days, an escalation that would quickly overwhelm the capability of NHS Shetland, and indeed that of any health board, to respond to the crisis.

This is why health officials and politicians urgently appeal to the public to follow the advice and guidance found at https://www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus

The elderly and those with underlying health issues are more likely than younger people to be seriously affected by the virus.

Figures from neighbouring Faroe, meanwhile, show what can happen when the virus takes hold in a similarly close-knit community. Faroe’s chief medical officer Lard Fodgaard Møller confirmed on Thursday that as many as 72 islanders, mostly young people, were infected by the virus.