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Coronavirus / Farmers union shows support for Covid testing at entry points

THE LOCAL branch of the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) has added its weight to calls for coronavirus testing of all visitors to Shetland.

Following an AGM of the branch last night (Thursday), president Cecil Eunson has encouraged the council and health board to “step up and ensure the health and safety of our local population”.

Shetland NFU president Cecil Eunson. Photo: Shetland NewsNFU branch president Cecil Eunson.

He also raised the idea of having visitors quarantine on arrival.

“We test and quarantine all livestock coming into Shetland to ensure their health and welfare, and that of our local stock,” Eunson said.

“Why is this not the case for people? Shetland is in a unique position along with the other Scottish islands, that we have a natural defence against the virus which we should be using.

“The only way onto Shetland is by boat or plane, and everyone travelling should be tested to keep everyone here safe and healthy.

“We ask that the local authority and health board step up and ensure the health and safety of our local population, like we do every time livestock comes into Shetland.”

The Northern Isles’ political representatives wrote to the Scottish Government, which has the power to introduce entry point testing, in December to consider the idea.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government told Shetland News in response: “To suppress the spread of Covid-19 it is essential that, with limited exception, there is no travel except for essential purposes – this applies to both Shetland and Orkney.

“Clearly the best way to stop the spread of the virus and for people to stay safe, is to stay at home and work from home as much as possible.”

Shetland and Orkney is currently under level three of coronavirus restrictions, meaning that only essential travel is permitted.