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Coronavirus / Number of local Covid-19 cases rises to 36 as community is warned not to treat the lockdown as a holiday

WITH the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) rapidly rising around the world, it comes as no surprise that the number of detected cases in Shetland has also gone up again.

The latest figures announced by the Scottish Government on Friday afternoon put the overall number of cases for Scotland at 3,001 with 36 of these in Shetland, an increase locally of six over the last 24 hours.

Sadly, 172 people have died of Covid-19 in Scotland.

During her daily press briefing in Edinburgh on Friday, first minister Nicola Sturgeon warned again that overcoming the virus pandemic would take many months and that no one should under the impression that the peak would already be reached next week.

This view was re-iterated by NHS Shetland’s public health consultant Dr Susan Laidlaw, who said on Friday that the lockdown was not a holiday and the local community should not treat it as such.

In a strongly worded message to the community she said: “It is not for drives out the countryside, or visits to family, or having a chat in the shops and it is definitely not for parties and congregating in groups.

“This is a global public health emergency, and we all need to do all we can to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.”

She continued saying that the lockdown was the only way to protect NHS services from collapsing which would happen if there was a surge of sick and dying people needing care.

“This is the only way to give people who are sick with Covid-19 the best chance of recovery, and to make sure we can still care for people with cancer, heart attacks, strokes or sepsis, pregnant women and critically ill babies, for example,” she said.

Dr Laidlaw’s comments follow reports that some in the community were – reportedly – not abiding by the lockdown, with socialising happening out of the public eye.

“Everyone needs to get into the mindset that they are staying at home and cannot go outside while this is happening. Don’t try and challenge it or work out how you can bend the rules to suit yourself.

“The fewer people moving around and coming into contact with each other, directly or indirectly, then the harder it will be for the virus to spread around and infect people.”

Dr Laidlaw warned that a person could spread the virus even if they were not infected but just through touch. “This is why handwashing is so important,” she said.

Meanwhile, letters from Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood have been issued this week to 120,000 people who are at greatest risk of Covid-19, to provide bespoke guidance on shielding from infection and information about the support available, which includes access to home deliveries through a text message service.

People who have received the letter this week and signed up to the service have been texted with the option of starting their weekly deliveries of essential food items including soup, pasta, rice, fruit, vegetables, tea, coffee and biscuits, as well as toiletries such as shower gel and toilet roll.

Deputy first minister John Swinney said: “These new services are available to those at the highest risk of severe illness from Covid-19 who do not have support structures around them to help.

“This includes people with specific forms of cancer, severe respiratory conditions, certain rare diseases, recipients of organ transplants, those on immunosuppression therapies and pregnant women with congenital heart disease.

“Many people will have support from friends and family but I would encourage everyone who receives a letter and requires support to sign up to the service immediately – this will ensure you have adequate supplies of food and essential items during these challenging times.”