Coronavirus testing equipment is in the isles

New kit which will pave the way for on-island coronavirus testing has arrived in Shetland, paving the way to allow for a quicker turn-around of results.

The new equipment means samples taken will no longer have to be flown south to be processed, potentially shaving days off the turn-around time for results.

NHS staff have already started training to help them use the equipment. It is expected to be pressed into service as soon as possible.

Health board chairman said demand for testing on the Scottish mainland had seen tests take up to five days for processing.

But having the kit on-island, he said, would see results turned round in a matter of hours.

Mr Robinson said he recognised there had been a “hiatus” after initial testing coronavirus had stopped.

“We recognised in NHS Shetland that capacity for testing was going to be an issue. Testing in Glasgow was going from 24 hours to five days.

“I think we recognised there was a need to get something locally.”


Add Your Comment
  • Peter Hamilton

    • April 15th, 2020 16:46

    Welcome news. Readers may welcome another fresh arrival in: “You clap for me now”

    NHS Shetland, like many other essential service providers, employs people whose parents and grandparents did now grow up in Shetland, or even in the UK.

    Let’s allow them, women and man alike, to be fully welcomed as valued members of our communities, with equal status. Let’s make the changes needed to fully include them and their families and so appreciate the strength in diversity that is their much appreciated contribution to modern Shetland, modern Scotland and modern Britain.

    • Malcolm Henry Johnson

      • April 16th, 2020 1:39

      Peter’s choice of poetry is particularly relevant during a week when British farmers chartered planes to collect 450 farm workers from Romania. The manager of the airline says he has already put in a bid for the next six flights. These Romanians form the first link in a long chain that magically re-stocks our supermarket shelves while we lie sleeping in our beds every night.

      For those with an apatite for further contemplation, I would recommend the following article:

  • Peter Hamilton

    • April 16th, 2020 12:51

    Thanks for the helpful and interesting link Malcolm. It almost makes a case for education in the humanities to be compulsory into adulthood!

    Reading it helped me to reflect on how dangerous it is for us to accept a narrow and rigid definition of what makes for a permissible “Shetlander”, and how important it is to reject the idea that some are entitled to more of a voice in that discussion than others.

    Those wishing to contest the need for such points to be made should first read Malcolm’s recommended article and then reflect on how recently a SMUHA squad featured a black-faced member of the NHS.

    As the article points out there is a prospect that this visus will not lead to more harmonious societies. The price of the peaceful cooperation we should wish for with all our neighbours is vigilance against those who would needlessly turn us against each other.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • April 16th, 2020 15:41

    I do agree that any type of racism abhorrent, sadly that is the tribal nature of humanity. There is nothing much hire tribal than the extreme Right Wing or ulte Socialist Left Wing
    I love how Peter and Malcolm appear to be so in veneration of each other, just a tad too preachy for me. As for “an education in the humanities to be compulsory into adulthood!” I would respectfully suggest a basis eduction in the STEM subjects would be of far more value to humankind. That way most would understand what a virus is, how a vaccine works. The sort of simple science stuff that lives depend on.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • April 16th, 2020 16:51

    Humanities educated, Like Boris Johson and Rees Mogg. Go for it, Peter!

  • John Tulloch

    • April 17th, 2020 10:04

    One hesitates to perturb so a warm a socialist embrace.

    However, re the linked article, any author who discusses Nazism and bigotry in one breath and then Trump, Bolsonaro and Modi in the next while omitting to mention China’s Xi Jinping or the North Korean monster, Kim Jong-un, is clearly peddling a dishonest agenda.

    It’s a wonder people “educated in the humanities” didn’t see that. Interesting.

    Having installed himself as president for life, Xi is reportedly responsible for the most appalling, vicious repression and imprisonment of a million Uighur people and the relentless destruction of their culture in China’s Xinjiang province.

    The “Guardian View” is clear: “Speak out or be complicit.”

    “Without sustained pressure, the grotesque human rights abuses seen in Xinjiang will not just continue but intensify. The time to speak up arrived long ago. Countries should be shouting about this from the rooftops.”

    If you want a chilling reminder of Nazism, guys, look no further.

    • Peter Hamilton

      • April 17th, 2020 13:59

      Does anyone want to remind John the NHS is socialist in intent and inception?

    • Graham Fleming

      • April 17th, 2020 19:45

      Did he learn all this from the wonderful British Empire ,I wonder,if so ,he is a poor apprentice.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • April 17th, 2020 16:53

    John Tulloch’s unwillingness to engage with the main points previously made is unsurprising.

  • Stephen Johnston

    • April 18th, 2020 13:31

    Have I missed something here? An article about testing equipment arriving in Shetland allowing results to be available in hours rather than days has very quickly turned into a debate about immigrants, racism, humanities -v- STEM Education and extreme left/right wing politics. It’s not always necessary to find something to disagree about.

  • John Tulloch

    • April 20th, 2020 11:07

    @Stephen Johnston, I agree. That’s precisely why I hadn’t commented on any coronavirus item, here or elsewhere, until my above post.

    The coronavirus pandemic is a rapidly unfolding tragedy, a national and global emergency. Using it as a political football is completely inappropriate.

    However, there comes a point when people pompously touting their supposedly superior educations to bolster bogus arguments, endlessly stirring the pot of social division and bitterness, must be challenged.

    Ideally, we would support those faced with tackling the crisis – at all levels – and keep our criticisms constructive. Or keep quiet and let them get on with it. Lessons can be learned later, with the benefit of hindsight, once all the facts are known

    As they say, “if you won’t help, at least, get out of the way.”

    • John Thomas

      • April 21st, 2020 9:20

      JT, straight from the right wing playbook…

      1) Make a statement everyone agrees with.
      2) Accuse your opposition of using the subject as a political football.
      3) Accuse the opposition of being elitist and stirring social divisions.
      4) Accuse the opposition of making a bogus point without refuting the point yourself.
      5) Tell them to be quiet.

      It’s an effective way to silence people – who could disagree that the coronavirus is a terrible tragedy after all? But…

      JT, How is the racism suffered every day for thousands of NHS staff not up for discussion?

      Why do you wish to silence that discussion?

      Why don’t you deal with issue, rather than making a series of accusations and personal attacks?

      What facts about racism faced by NHS staff are not known? Maybe not known to you, but lived by the people in the poem. Maybe for you racism and anti-immigrant sentiment is a political football to be put away until you see fit. But for the people who have lived with it through their lives, suffered because of it, it is a matter of day to day struggle. And yes, a political issue.

    • Malcolm Henry Johnson

      • April 21st, 2020 14:07

      When John declared that “People pompously touting their supposedly superior educations to bolster bogus arguments, must be challenged” I assumed that he was going to say something about Dr/Mr/Lt.Cdr Tinkler.

      For what it’s worth John, my own qualifications are an HGV and PSV licence so if that’s what you regard as a superior education, you must have the mother of all inferiority complexes.

      Whenever anyone tries to bring up subjects like racism or social exclusion on this forum, the same few individuals fly into an apoplectic rage and you, John, are always one of them. As someone once said:

      “If you won’t help, at least, get out of the way.”

      • Ian Tinkler

        • April 21st, 2020 16:36

        Malcolm Henry Johnson, O dear me, that chip on the shoulder. It was actually Surgeon Lieutenant Commander with 10 years training in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) Warfare including triage and casualty care. I rejoice I never had time to waste on the humanities, more important work to do, like keeping people breathing.

      • John Thomas

        • April 21st, 2020 18:29

        I know, tell me about it Ian. I for one would be fine without HGV drivers. In fact, I have been training our blessed grandson on how to handle a mule and cart (his sister is the mule until we can procure a replacement for dear old Betty as you well know). On a side note, I was exposed to radiation as a child in the 50s. The triage nurse was excellent and the radiation never did me any harm. So what I am saying is you are both valued by old John Thomas.

      • Malcolm Henry Johnson

        • April 21st, 2020 19:01

        I’ve often pondered the nature of predictability and wondered: What came first, the Surgeon Lieutenant Commander or the wind-up, clockwork toy?

    • John Tulloch

      • April 21st, 2020 14:34

      To Peter Hamilton and John Thomas I say, thank you, for exemplifying my point about using the coronavirus tragedy as a political football. Perfect.

      I hadn’t commented about NHS or care home staff. However, relatives of mine are currently benefitting from their work and their courage and conviction is truly admirable. Whatever their race or nationality, I heartily applaud it.

      Call me what you like. I won’t be drawn into an unseemly, polemic “Punch and Judy” food fight over the crisis by personal attacks. I invite readers to check my above points and judge for themselves.

      Have a nice day, boys.

      • John Thomas

        • April 21st, 2020 16:59

        JT: “I won’t be drawn into an unseemly, polemic “Punch and Judy” food fight over the crisis by personal attacks. ”

        Yet you did find time to tell us that an HGV driver was
        “pompously touting their supposedly superior educations to bolster bogus arguments,”

        Pot meet kettle.

        I see you exemplified my points too – namely numbers 1, 2 and 4 of the right wing playbook. I see you signed off by patronisingly calling us ‘boys’. Rising above it eh?

        Besides, what’s to rise above when it comes to an anti racist poem by hardworking NHS staff? Why is their anti-racist sentiment and people supporting it unseemly?
        Why does it anger you so much John?
        No one attacked you John. Engaging your in debate is not an attack. Calling people who you disagree with pompous might have been though.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • April 20th, 2020 16:05

    Inspiring attempts at deflection from John Tulloch. Clap the NHS and public sector workers without remembering many are subject to racist abuse why don’t we?

    Let’s not consider how society might be made better after this mess, let alone how the UK has got into it so deeply.

    “Now you clap for me” (link above) was a welcome call for some, but not, John Tulloch.

    As founder of Wir Shetland’s UKIP, John is something of a past master when it comes to “stirring the pot of social division and bitterness”, but we aren’t allowed to talk about that, about the complex nature or history of racism in Shetland, or anything closer to home than China it seems.

    Inconveniently for John though, lessons can be, and are being, learned now. These are hard times, but hard times are good times to imagine how things can and should be made better.

    “Now You Clap For Me” had something powerful to say. John Tulloch, however, remains somehow both vocal, but as yet, completely disengaged. A rising chorus of “Shetland for the Shets” might refocus him, if anyone is feeling creative enough to write it. It goes to the tune of “We shall overcome”.

  • Steven Brown

    • April 21st, 2020 23:46

    I most say that over the years I’ve never been one to comment on any stories here or elsewhere on news items, but holy hell Shetland Times (and thats not a religious outburst by the way), what are you doing Mr Editor or moderator ?

    A whole positive story totally hijacked by the same, apparently educated people (some apparently highly educated) that plaster your letters, any and all topics, with the same diatribe time and time again !

    Now it can be moderately amusing watching from afar, and no doubt I/this will get slaughtered, i expect nothing else really, but cant you keep folks comment to the subject in matter ?
    Argumentative boys should really just take their handbags, go to the play park and dance around them, after the lockdown is lifted of course !

    Well done Shetland NHS for all you do for us and all that you endeavour to do to help keep us safe and healthy !!

  • Peter Hamilton

    • April 23rd, 2020 14:55

    You tell them Steven! 😉 Was Carmichael right to call the government’s approach ideological? Who cares? There is no room for politics in any of this.

    Could have been better if the testing kit had been in the isles 38 days earlier though.

    • Laurence Paton

      • April 24th, 2020 11:11

      Clearly Mr Brown was equally refering to you as well Mr Hamilton.

  • John Thomas

    • April 23rd, 2020 18:05

    Fair point, but you do not need the censors to step in, simply don’t scroll down. I cannot be relied upon for sensible or relevant debate. That much should be clear by now.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • April 24th, 2020 14:26

    Yes Laurence, I think I got that. It will be interesting to see what this week’s Sunday Times has in store for Boris.

    • Rosa Steppanova

      • April 26th, 2020 9:58

      I don’t read the Sunday Times Petrus, but I can tell you that there is a seat in the hall of linguistic fame for Johnson. He has given rise to a new noun: boris. It replaces an eight-letter, rather rude one, that begins with a “d “and ends with a “d”. Suggested usage: Don’t be a boris, stay safe, stay well.

  • ian Tinkler

    • April 24th, 2020 19:35

    Carrie Symonds!! Love you Peter, such a star.

    • John Thomas

      • April 25th, 2020 13:01

      Love you too Ian, good to see you, even if only virtually while the lockdown is on.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • April 27th, 2020 12:23

    Not normally a fan myself Rosa, of The Sunday Times, but the 38 days Boris wasted got full front page coverage on the 19th. This means, for the purists, that the above good news story could have come a lot earlier.

    The increasingly tragic outcome, the delay and the ideology of this government of disaster capitalists are all directly linked.

    Something of a summary is carried here:

    As for an eight letter word to describe superspreader Johnson, well frankly Rosa, I am at a loss. It is a letter short, but maybe ‘dullard’? It would probably take someone with proper scientific training to know for sure.

    Led by the scientists indeed.

    Meanwhile, for those with a rudimentary appreciation for creativity and the arts, I will offer the following, with an apology to those readers with more refined sensibilities:

    Ours is not to question why.
    Ours us but to clap and cry.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • May 2nd, 2020 14:14

    Another beautifully poetic, uplifting and helpful contribution has arrived, affording us the chance to step back and envision a better future.

    I think this touching poem as bedtime story is powerful enough to make most folk value the role of the creative arts in education and STEM the fixation that maths and science matter more.

    Not everything that matters can be counted and not everything that can be counted matters.


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