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Coronavirus / No new Covid cases for the second day

Wishart receives confirmation that testing before entry to Shetland is being considered

THE DOWNWARD trend in local infection figures has continued after the isles recorded no new Covid cases for the second consecutive day.

It comes after NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson said in a social media broadcast on Wednesday that the Covid-19 outbreak that started a few days before Christmas could likely be declared over within days.

The total number of confirmed Covid cases for Shetland since the start of the pandemic stands at 210.

During first minister’s question time in the Scottish Parliament today, Nicola Sturgeon expressed some cautious confidence that some slow “progress in suppressing” the virus is being made.

Meanwhile, isles MSP Beatrice Wishart received confirmation from national clinical director Jason Leitch today that coronavirus testing before arrival to the islands is being considered.

Professor Leitch confirmed that government and its advisers were “thinking about [it]”, while cabinet secretary Mike Russell added that “we should look at it as a suggestion and treat it very seriously”.

The Shetland MSP said: “This is an issue that needs to be dealt with quickly and not mulled over.

“My colleagues and I wrote to the transport secretary and health secretary on the matter before Christmas but we are yet to receive a reply.

She added: “Constituents point out that we could have a geographic advantage in stopping the spread of Covid. Getting to the islands is naturally more restricted than to other areas of the country so it seems feasible to bring in testing for people before they arrive.

“Professor Leitch and the Cabinet Secretary point out that testing on its own won’t be enough, and we all need to stick with social distancing measures and quarantine to reduce the chances of importation and spread of the virus.

“But where there are low levels of the virus, we should be doing everything possible to keep it that way.”