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Letters / Follow the science, not the politics

New Zealand relaxed its lockdown 17 days after their last case of Covid-19 and had no further cases until its re-introduction by people from England this week.

The last death in Shetland was on 6 May and there have been no new reported cases since 22 April. This is confirmed by the fact that the official number of confirmed cases for Shetland remains unchanged at 54. [The case confirmed at Shetland Gas Plant on 11 June has not been added to the official count yet – Shetland News].

Nobody is suggesting a means by which the virus could still be in our population. If we follow the science and New Zealand’s example, it is clearly impossible for Covid-19 to still be in Shetland.

In these circumstances, keeping the Gilbert Bain mothballed is endangering the Shetland population by denying people access to urgently needed treatment for other conditions.

It is endangering the mental health of those fearful of leaving their homes because of self-isolation or shielding which, if the virus is no longer here, is totally unnecessary. 

If it is still presumed to be here, let’s see the science which allows the possibility – otherwise it is simply fear mongering that keeps the policies in place.

We all assume that the NHS is working for the benefit of Shetland’s health. In the final analysis it is individual doctors, whose Hippocratic oath calls on them to do no harm, who have to satisfy themselves (and demonstrate to us) that there is real risk and they are not simply following orders.

One size does not fit all. The Scottish Government’s policy may be appropriate in Scotland, where they still have cases. To apply the same policy in Shetland is clearly damaging to our health and our economy. 

Shetland NHS and Shetland Islands Council should put Shetland first. Protect us from infection from outside and get Shetland back to normal. Follow the science, not the politics and do no more harm.

Stuart Hill
Cunningsburgh