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Coronavirus / Halcro Johnston accuses government of failure as Covid numbers continue to rise

First minister Nicola Sturgeon, meanwhile, urges the public to get tested, get vaccinated and follow the public health guidance

WITH three new Covid cases registered in Shetland over the last 24 hours, Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has accused the Scottish Government of failing adequately promote its own advice that people should take two Covid tests prior to travelling to Scotland’s islands.

The latest figures confirmed by the Scottish Government bring the number of new cases recorded for Shetland since 17 June to 26.

Highlands and Islands Conservative Jamie Halcro Johnston.

There were again more than 3,000 new cases recorded across Scotland.

At the weekend NHS Shetland issued an urgent appeal to everybody planning to visit the isles to get tested twice before travelling.

Halcro Johnston said the government should have done more to promote this advice.

“This is particularly concerning given how we are seeing Covid rates increasing across Scotland, with the country now recording the highest number of new cases since the pandemic started and the highest percentage in the whole of Europe,” he said.

“This surely only highlights why the Scottish Government should have been doing more to promote their own advice to use these test which, thanks to the UK Government’s lateral flow testing scheme, are free and return a result in about 30 minutes.

“The Scottish Government’s seeming failure to make the public aware of this guidance is a missed opportunity, and one with consequences for our island communities”.

Meanwhile, during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, first minister Nicola Sturgeon admitted that the rise in infection numbers was concerning but expressed her belief that by getting vaccinated and following the rules “the end of the tunnel could actually be reached”.

She called on the population to “redouble our efforts” for a few more weeks.

“Get vaccinated when you are asked, test yourself regularly and particularly when you are going to visit somebody or going for an outing somewhere, and continue to follow all the public health guidelines.

“The current surge in cases is a concern, we are seeing it happening elsewhere as the Delta variant starts to take hold, so I am not going to pretend it is not a concern, but I do know if we all exercise caution and common sense we can make a difference while the vaccine gets ahead.

“And I remain confident and possibly even more confident than I have ever been that the vaccine is getting us out of this.”