Shetland’s health chief has said testing for island visitors did not remove the risk of Covid and urged folk to continue following other guidance to suppress the virus.
Michael Dickson made the comments after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today (Tuesday) that everyone in Scotland would be able to access lateral flow tests to reduce the risk of transmission.
Ms Sturgeon appealed for visitors to island communities, in particular, to take the tests.
Mr Dickson, who is chief executive of NHS Shetland and Orkney, said the advice acknowledged islands communities’ vulnerability to infection from mainland visitors.
“Testing shouldn’t be the only consideration for those travelling, we still need to encourage vaccination and for us all to stick with the ‘Facts’,” he said.
“No one should be travelling if they have any Covid symptoms.
“We don’t want people to see the option of carrying out a test as a barrier but rather an additional measure that may help in the ongoing efforts to protect our community.
“We would like to ask those moving on and off our islands to do so responsibly and safely.”
Mr Dickson said that, unlike for international travel, this test was voluntary.
“Covid has been very hard on island communities and anyone travelling to the islands must be sensitive to the protection level restrictions that are in place and take every precaution they can to prevent spreading Covid,” he added.
People can order a test through the government’s website and they should arrive within 24-48 hours.
Anyone who tests positive should self-isolate and delay travel until it is safe to continue their journey.