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Coronavirus / Don’t travel on the ferries when Covid positive, government official warns

A PLEA has been made for people not to travel under any circumstances on board the NorthLink ferries if they have tested positive for Covid.

Alan McCabe of Transport Scotland warned that sailings could potentially be cancelled at short notice as the result of the irresponsible behaviour of a few.

He told a meeting of the islands’ external transport forum on Wednesday afternoon that on several occasions people had been travelling on board the Hrossey and Hjaltland while Covid positive.

He described the trend as “alarming” and said people needed to understand that they could jeopardise the lifeline service.

Two of NorthLink's three passenger ferries. Photo Will Rodger
Sailings would have to cancelled for deep cleaning should Covid spread on board the NorthLink ferries.Photo Will Rodger.

“I don’t know why people are testing overnight while on the boat. We recently heard about a family of four coming from abroad who got off the boat in Lerwick and told the crew that they had all just tested and got Covid,” he said.

People planning to travel on the ferry service are asked to carry out lateral flow tests three days before setting off and again on the morning of their travel date.

“If you’ve got it, please don’t go on the boat,” he said.

He added that due to people not following the Covid guidance, sailings on the Scottish west coast had to be cancelled on many occasions over the last 20 months.

On the overnight Northern Isles routes the impact of short notice cancellations would be significantly more severe, he added.

“When I hear these stories, I just keep thinking that it is all a matter of time before we have to cancel sailings because vessels have to be deep cleaned.

“Please maintain the good work that is being done; there hasn’t been any sailing cancelled because of Covid, and that is purely down to the precaution that NorthLink have put in place.”