Architect Iain Malcolmson has shared a post on Facebook to “put straight some of the more vicious rumours” which have spread since he and his wife were confirmed as having contracted coronavirus.
Mr Malcolmson, on Thursday morning, spoke to The Shetland Times, and said he thought it was important to explain the truth of the situation. He heaped praise on the health services who he said had gone “above and beyond” and had done a “fantastic” job.
Mr Malcolmson confirmed in the Facebook post that he and Suzanne had tested positive for the virus following a trip to southern Italy, something which he said left health services “gobsmacked”.
His post stated that the couple had visited Naples for a long weekend. Before travelling they had checked the government website which advised, “travel to Naples was fine as there were no cases in that region at the time”.
That was still the case when they returned home.
Mr Malcolmson wrote that on Thursday night after returning home he started to develop mild cold symptoms and contacted the health services.
“The initial advice was that southern Italy was not a high risk area and therefore we did not need testing. However, this information changed on lunchtime Friday when Italy was upgraded.
“We were advised to self-isolate, and we would be tested.”
This, he states, they did immediately. He adds, in an apparent response to rumours that have been circulating, that they “have not been out partying, or socialising of any kind”.
“Both NHS Shetland and Public Health Scotland/Shetland were gobsmacked when the positive results came on the Sunday evening. At that point we provided as much detail and information as we possibly could to help the health professionals carry out their work.”
Mr Malcolmson added that he and his family followed all the health service advice.
He later referred to the “fantastic” support he has received from the health service, friends, family and neighbours. But he added that “nasty rumours and wild speculation” have also been spread.
“We would do anything to change this situation, and we are desperately worried about friends, family and anyone else who may have been affected.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but that does not change where we are now. We do however know, that we did everything we could as per the guidance.
“Public Health Shetland urges everyone to follow the same principles, however, if the consequence of doing your best and trying to do the right thing is to get vilified by others, it will put people off, and this will increase the risk in the long run.”
He invited people to share the post.
Mr Malcolmson told this newspaper that despite the frustration of the nastiness of some of the rumours, “most people have been so supportive”.
“The amount of messages we have had from people all over, saying it is not our fault … you certainly get to know who your friends are.”
He added that it was important to stress “how fantastic the health guys are”.
“The lasses that have come out every day have been absolutely fantastic. You couldn’t ask for better treatment.”