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Coronavirus / Health board chairman urges caution over Christmas

THE CHAIRMAN of NHS Shetland has urged people to “think twice” about travelling or mixing with households at Christmas unless they feel it essential to do so.

NHS Shetland chairman Gary Robinson.

While he recognised seeing family was important socially, he said the “public health message remains the same” over the festive period.

His advice during a meeting of the health board on Tuesday was simple: “Please stay at home”.

Across the country three households will be able to meet indoors in a bubble between 23 and 27 December, with the guidance around social distancing and hygiene remaining.

This is a significant shift for most areas, where indoor home visits are banned, but in Scottish islands up to two households can already meet.

The Pfizer.BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

However, Scottish Government officials have confirmed that islanders should look to choose either between forming a bubble for the festive period or continuing the current guidance.

Robinson also said the arrival of a Covid-19 vaccine in Shetland last week was “really positive as the year draws to a close”.

He said vaccinators and care home workers have started being vaccinated, as well as higher risk health care workers.

The health board is looking to vaccinate care home residents soon.

Robinson said it is “vital they are protected first”.

The first batch of vaccines arrived in Shetland on Thursday, with occupational health nurse Sam Wylie the first to receive the jab on Friday.