Testing before arriving in isles being considered

The Scottish government is considering asking people to test for coronavirus before coming into the isles.

National clinical director Jason Leitch has confirmed the idea is being looked at.

MSP Beatrice Wishart, along with Northern Isles colleagues, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur and MP Alistair Carmichael, wrote to the Scottish government in  December calling for exploration of options for mass testing at points of entry to the Scottish islands.

At a meeting of the Holyrood’s Covid-19 committee, Ms Wishart said that “where there are low levels of the virus, we should be doing everything possible to keep it that way”.

Professor Leitch has now confirmed: “We are thinking about [it]”.

He recognised a continued need for quarantine measures.

Constitution secretary Mike Russell added: “We should look at it as a suggestion and treat it very seriously.”

Recently, the local branch of the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) called for people to be tested before coming into Shetland.

Commenting after the government’s acknowledgement of the testing idea Ms Wishart said: “I’m pleased that government is looking into Covid testing ahead entry to the islands.

“However this is an issue that needs to be dealt with quickly and not mulled over.

“My colleagues and I wrote to the transport secretary and health secretary on the matter before Christmas but we are yet to receive a reply.

“Constituents point out that we could have a geographic advantage in stopping the spread of Covid.

“Getting to the islands is naturally more restricted than to other areas of the country so it seems feasible to bring in testing for people before they arrive.

“Professor Leitch and the cabinet secretary point out that testing on its own won’t be enough, and we all need to stick with social distancing measures and quarantine to reduce the chances of importation and spread of the virus.

“But where there are low levels of the virus, we should be doing everything possible to keep it that way.”


Add Your Comment
  • Diana Peterson

    • January 28th, 2021 14:55

    The problem is that we are actually no longer really ‘low’ level …..

    Another problem has and remains as far as I can see….we are in Tier 3 so businesses are gradually getting deeper in debt because these people are not in receipt of furloughed payments so they have little or no income and no safety net because we are not in a 4 zone!!!
    Too many mixed messages from too many chiefs while the real Indians are overwhelmed !!!
    Proper restrictions placed on entry / departure from these Islands should have been put in place at the beginning ….. As soon as available these testing facilities should have been provided….
    You only visit Goudies Undertakers once !!!!

  • Julie Hardy

    • January 29th, 2021 6:10

    Mean while our countries debts continue to grow…….when it comes to paying for the covid 19 debts government need to be taking a long hard look at the House of Lords draining so much money from the people. A shake up is long overdue. Hard working people are depending on food banks while the privileged can fall asleep in public view its shameful.


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