featured newsDecember 24, 2020 at 11:30 amCould COVID-19 testing be rolled out on island entry factors, comparable to ferry terminals and airports?
Isles representatives, Alistair Carmichael MP, Beatrice Wishart MSP and Liam McArthur MSP have referred to as for the Authorities to discover choices for mass COVID-19 testing at factors of entry to the Scottish islands.
Writing to the Scottish well being ministers, the Orkney and Shetland MP and MSPs recommended that the deployment of testing on the Channel ports may information the introduction of improved controls to stop additional coronavirus outbreaks in island communities.
Commenting on the letter, Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart mentioned: “If there’s a case for mass testing on the Channel ports then absolutely additionally it is price exploring to stop additional outbreaks within the isles.
“We must have a geographic benefit in stopping the unfold of COVID-19, however with out wider testing on ferries and flights we’ve got seen recurring outbreaks in Shetland.
“If the brand new variant is as severe because it seems then it may trigger a number of harm in a small group like ours – higher if we will cease it earlier than it arrives.”
Orkney MSP Liam McArthur mentioned: “As testing know-how continues to enhance, it’s necessary that consideration is given to how this may very well be successfully utilised, together with for journey to and from island communities.
“Whereas Professor Leitch made clear to me throughout a gathering of the COVID Committee this morning that he doesn’t consider we’re fairly at this stage but, he did settle for the case for persevering with to discover this selection.
“On that foundation, the Scottish Authorities ought to decide to holding this proposal below evaluate, together with studying from the expertise of the testing going down in Dover. Something that may assist scale back the chance of transmission whereas permitting for the easing of restrictions deserves correct consideration.”
Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael added: “Island communities throughout Scotland may benefit from higher certainty and safety from outbreaks if we put in place testing at ferry terminals and airports.
“I hope that the Authorities will take these proposals severely because it can’t be lengthy earlier than we see the brand new variant of COVID spreading rapidly throughout the nation.
“The isles typically have geographic challenges relative to the remainder of the UK – this is a chance to utilize our geographic benefits.”