Leitch warns Shetland could see more cases emerge

Efforts to stop the importation of coronavirus into island communities are “definitely going to help” – according to the national clinical director, Jason Leitch.

But Prof Leitch has warned Shetland could see more new cases of coronavirus emerge, despite daily-updated records showing none since last month.

His comments follow a drive by Isles MSP Beatrice Wishart to secure Covid testing measures at entry points into Shetland, in a bid to stop coronavirus at the door.

Prof Leitch was talking in a national radio interview when he highlighted the “very encouraging” national seven day data.

No new cases have been recorded in Shetland since 9th February. On Tuesday it emerged Shetland would be living under level zero restrictions if the Scottish government reinstated its levels system straight away.

Asked about Orkney and Shetland, Prof Leitch said: “They’re not at zero infections. They haven’t had infections for a week or two. But before you get too excited, let’s remember Barra had no infections for quite a long time – and then got to 10 per cent of the population self isolating within two weeks.

“So, we shouldn’t think we’re out of the woods, but we should be encouraged.”

He added: “I can not tell you, with absolute certainty, that nobody in Orkney or Shetland has the virus. There could be symptomatic cases, there could be cases incubating, there could be a case tomorrow.”

He warned mass testing was not the answer.

“Slovakia decided ‘we’ve got low levels, let’s test the whole country in a three day period.’ They did that. And they found some more cases. But it doesn’t work – it doesn’t get you to where you need to go.

“But…if you can secure Orkney, or the Isle of Wight, or Scotland, or Europe, and not let any more cases in once you get to a very low level – that’s definitely going to help.”


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