UHI Shetland - Open the door to your future
Sunday 23 June 2024
 11.4°C   WSW Fresh Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Coronavirus / Level three ‘appropriate’ while vaccination effort is ongoing

KEEPING Shetland in level three of Scotland’s Covid-19 restrictions is the appropriate thing to do at this stage of the pandemic, according to NHS Shetland consultant for public health Dr Susan Laidlaw.

Speaking during a media briefing on Thursday morning the health professional said a precautionary approach to opening up was still required while the vaccination programme was ongoing.

But cafes and shops that had closed during the Christmas outbreak could re-open under level three if they wanted to, she reiterated.

“A lot of those closed down in and around the outbreak when Shetland put itself almost into level four,” Dr Laidlaw said.

“There is quite a lot that we can do in level three that is maybe not happening yet.”

Closing shops, cafes and leisure facilities including the library during the Christmas outbreak when the health board had given out the ‘stay at home’ message had been “entirely appropriate”, she said.

Public health consultant Dr Susan Laidlaw.

“There are places opening up again that weren’t before. There is almost a move of getting into level three – and then gradually things will change after that,” she said.

Shetland has had just two confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the last four weeks.

However, she warned not to rush towards greater freedom especially during the ongoing vaccination programme, and added that the option of allowing household visits within level three again is a possibility the health board is “keeping an eye on” and wants to discuss with the Scottish Government.

“At the moment, I think level three is appropriate whilst we are still getting second dose vaccination to the most vulnerable,” she said.

“Once we get that added layer of protection for the most vulnerable people in the community we all feel more reassured around opening up a bit more.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“We also really want to see what happens with children going back to school, before making another move.”

National clinical director Jason Leitch also voiced a word of caution when responding to suggestions that Shetland should move down one or two levels down before the end of April.

“That would be a decision above my pay grade. But our advice is just now we should stay national, but we should move to a more nuanced, regional local approach when we can,” he said.

“There’s one difficulty and one good thing. The difficulty is we don’t know how the new variant will react to opening, because we’ve never done that. No country has done that. So we’re very worried about the nature of the new variant. The second thing is a good thing, and that’s vaccination.”

Details of what is possible in level three of Covid-19 restrictions can be found here.

And NHS Shetland’s regularly updated Covid-19 information site can be found at https://www.healthyshetland.com/covid-vaccinations-update

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.