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News round-up / News round-up: Call for more home testing kits, Sandford exhibition goes live online, local transport survey

NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael says “island communities could benefit greatly from more access to home testing kits for key workers”.

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.
Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Shetland News

He said that people in the isles have sometimes been told via the UK government’s coronavirus testing website that they might have to travel to the Highlands or Peterhead.

This is despite the website offering tests at home as well as testing centres.

Carmichael raised the issue in parliament today (Tuesday), with health secretary Matt Hancock replying: “It’s a very important question and I’ll look into the specifics of it to make sure that our island communities get the appropriate response in the website.

“He’ll appreciate that we put the testing website together at a remarkable pace and so in the first iteration weren’t able to make this sort of important nuance for Orkney and island communities, but I’ll take that away and look at it.

“He mentioned the answer to this in substance and the answer is to get the home testing kits working for Orkney [and Shetland] and I’m sure there’s a way through.”

PEOPLE will be offered a chance to view a Shetland-based artist’s latest exhibition from the comfort of their own home thanks to 3D visual technology.

Ron Sandford is hosting Hong Kong to Shetland at the Fine Art Society in Edinburgh between 14 May and 13 June.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the exhibition is set to go ahead – with a website allowing people to view his work online.

For 30 years Sanford illustrated books and newspapers and undertook large scale architectural commissions such as Bishopsgate, London.

He was also commissioned by the likes of the V&A, Longman publishers and architects such as Norman Foster and Richard Rogers.

ZetTrans, Shetland’s regional transport partnership, wants to hear from local residents how lockdown has affected their sustainable travel behaviour to understand what the long term implications might be.

Public engagement to support the development of an active travel strategy for the isles was cut short earlier this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A new online questionnaire aims to capture any changes in travel behaviours as a result of lockdown.

A spokesperson said: “Perhaps you have been exercising or making your essential journeys on foot or by bike. Do local streets feel different, with less motorised traffic? Are there changes that could become part of the ‘new normal’?”

The strategy will guide development of facilities and support for walking, cycling and wheeling, and will play a role in helping to reduce Shetland’s carbon footprint.

The questionnaire is available at www.zettrans.org.uk/about/consultations until 31 May.