Sheltland health leaders have warned the Covid-19 lockdown must not be treated as a “holiday”, following reports of folk socialising in public.
Public health consultant Susan Laidlaw urged folk to respect the lockdown and stay away from each other.
“It is not for drives out the countryside, or visits to family, or having a chat in the shops and it is definitely not for parties and congregating in groups,” Dr Laidlaw said.
“This is a global public health emergency, and we all need to do all we can to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.”
Dr Laidlaw said the lockdown was the only way to protect NHS services from collapsing due to a surge of sick and dying people needing care.
“This is the only way to give people who are sick with Covid-19 the best chance of recovery, and to make sure we can still care for people with cancer, heart attacks, strokes or sepsis, pregnant women and critically ill babies, for example,” she said.
Dr Laidlaw’s highlighted reports some Shetland folk were not abiding by the lockdown and gathering with friends.
“Everyone needs to get into the mindset that they are staying at home and cannot go outside while this is happening,” she said.
“Don’t try to challenge it or work out how you can bend the rules to suit yourself.”
Shetland’s local area commander Lindsay Tulloch has also urged folk to abide by the guidelines.
“These are national guidelines and Shetland is no different – we stick to the national requirements.”
Although police forces have been given powers to fine people to enforce the lockdown, Mr Tulloch said earlier this week that his officers would only use them as a “last resort”.
The only reasons for people leaving the home are for people who:
– work but cannot fulfil their work obligations from home;
– work for essential health or care services;
– provide essential care for someone else;
– need to buy food, household and healthcare items (but just what they
– are taking daily exercise (within reason);
– have been advised to for essential health reasons.
Dr Laidlaw said: “The fewer people moving around and coming into contact with each other, directly or indirectly, then the harder it will be for the virus to spread around and infect people.”
She warned that a person could spread the virus even if they were not infected but just through touch.
“This is why hand washing is so important.”
“There are plenty of people who have no option but the go out to work, or to buy food or care for vulnerable people.
“And for others there will others for whom this is a horrendous situation because they are living with domestic abuse for example.
“But we have to try and minimise the movement and contact between people as much as we can to reduce the spread of the virus, so, unless you have one of the reasons above for going out, or are in an unsafe situation, stay put.”