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Coronavirus / Four weeks since last positive Covid-19 test but isles should not become complacent, says health chief

Gilbert Bain Hospital. Photo: Shetland News

PEOPLE have been warned not to become complacent about coronavirus after no new confirmed cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Shetland for a fourth week in a row.

The last positive test result in the isles was back on 20 April – four weeks ago today (Monday).

But NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson has stressed that people should not slack when it comes to hand washing, social distancing and shielding vulnerable people.

He said there are still instances of Covid-19 in the community which are being tackled through self-isolation.

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson. Photo: Shetland News

“This is a global pandemic and we cannot become complacent,” Dickson said.

“There are still cases circulating in the community and people are doing the right thing by self-isolating but this virus is easily passed on which is why NHS Shetland stands firmly with NHS Scotland’s guidance which is stay at home and obey the lockdown.

“The importance of hand washing, social distancing and protecting those who are shielding cannot be overstated.

“We have experienced significant numbers already in Shetland, should people not take this issue seriously and start believing we have beaten the virus we risk the entire situation changing and cases increasing rapidly putting our loved ones and our NHS at risk.”

Dickson also said that the Ronas Ward in the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick is unlikely to change back to its clinical teaching role any time soon.

The ward, which previously accommodated patients prior to closing in 2017, was reopened specifically to cater for people with Covid-19.

“The Ronas Ward is usually a clinical teaching area,” Dickson said. “There is currently no movement of new nursing or medical students in and out of Shetland and the ward will stay operative.

“We don’t know what will happen when lockdown eases and what impact this will have on the NHS. If there is a surge of Covid-19 infections, we will need the ward. At this stage the current set-up is in place indefinitely.”

First minister Nicola Sturgeon, meanwhile, confirmed earlier that current lockdown restrictions could begin to be eased from 28 May.

This would include allowing people to meet someone from another household outdoors if they remain two metres apart.

Outdoor sports like fishing and golf would also be allowed.

A ‘route map’ will be published by the Scottish Government on Thursday setting out its phased approach to easing lockdown measures.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman also said that all care home workers will be offered regular Covid-19 tests even if they are not displaying symptoms.

For the latest information, visit the NHS Inform website.