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Coronavirus / Government says there may be benefit in covering face in shops and on public transport

The number of positive Covid-19 test results in Shetland, meanwhile, remains at 54

THE SCOTTISH Government says there may be benefit in wearing face covering in spaces where social distancing may be difficult, like shops and public transport.

In new guidance issued on Tuesday, the government said that while the evidence is “limited”, there could be “some benefit” in wearing face coverings – like scarves – in enclosed spaces where the two metre distancing rule may be hard to adhere to.

“As some people can have the virus but experience no symptoms, wearing a face covering in the situations outlined above may provide some level of protection against transmission to other people in close proximity,” it said.

“By face coverings we do not mean the wearing of a surgical or other medical grade mask but a facial covering of the mouth and nose, that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe, for example a scarf.”

First minister Nicola Sturgeon.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed on Tuesday that NHS boards across Scotland are being asked to put in place procedures to test for Covid-19 anyone over 70 who is admitted to hospital for any reason.

“Patients in this category will be tested on admission to hospital and then every four days throughout their stay in hospital,” she said.

“That will help us identify if the virus is being transmitted inside a hospital, and if so, where.”

In relation to facial coverings, the government said that they “must not be used as an alternative” to social distancing precautions.

“Given that the evidence of impact on transmission is relatively weak, the public use of facial coverings is not being made mandatory and will not be enforced at this stage,” the guidance added.

“However, we will keep this guidance under ongoing review as we consider any easing of lockdown restrictions in the weeks ahead.”

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson. Photo: Shetland News

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson, meanwhile, says people in the isles have “heeded the call” to stay away from the Gilbert Bain Hospital and health centres unless they have serious need.

“Unsurprisingly we have seen the bulk of health centre consultations take place via telephone or telemedicine,” he said.

The health chief also reiterated a call for people with ongoing medical issues to seek help even if they feel they do not want to be a burden to staff.

“Our health centres have capacity to assist patients with their ongoing health management needs and also to respond to serious health concerns,” Dickson said.

“Anyone with a serious health emergency – that is not Covid-19 related – must come to A&E. In a life-threatening emergency please call 999, and, if there is suspicion that it is Covid-19 related, the caller must declare it is a Covid-19 emergency.”

The cumulative number of positive Covid-19 tests reported in Shetland, meanwhile, has remained unchanged at 54.