Scottish government backs plans to introduce testing at entry points

The Scottish government has given a commitment to introducing testing for coronavirus at island entry points.

The move has been welcomed by isles politicians.

Proposals are still expected to be fed into the process from Shetland Islands Council and the NHS.

It follows a meeting between Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart and Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse, as well as Minister for Public Health, Mairi Gougeon.

Both Ms Gougeon and Mr Wheelhouse agreed on the need to look at how a such a testing system might be made to work in practice.

Ms Wishart wrote to the Transport Secretary in December, alongside Northern Isles colleagues Liam McArthur and Alistair Carmichael, calling for the additional safeguard to be put in place for Orkney and Shetland.

A petition was also organised by the local branch of the National Farmers Union (NFUS).

Following the meeting, Ms Wishart said: “Both Ministers were constructive in their approach and I welcome confirmation that the Scottish government is keen to work with the island authorities and health boards on proposals for testing at entry points to Shetland.

“Having such a system of testing in place could give additional reassurance and confidence both to those travelling as well as to our island communities.

“Of course, implementing this type of testing will present practical challenges and throw up a number of questions about the best approach to take.

“However, the invitation from the Scottish government appears to be an open one and so I look forward to working with Shetland Islands Council, NHS Shetland and other stakeholders to help develop proposals for how a scheme might be made to work effectively.”


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