The news that the Brazil variant of the Covid19 virus has now arrived in Scotland is a timely warning of the importance of travel restrictions, quarantine and self isolation.
The P1 “Brazilian” variant may even cause Covid19 infection in people already vaccinated or in those who have previously had the virus and recovered from it. This is more than concerning after being in level 3 in the islands and level 4 on the mainland of Scotland for so long.
Three people travelled to the North East Scotland from Brazil, via Paris and London.The travellers went into self isolation when they got to Scotland. They then tested positive for Covid.
Scotland’s track, trace and testing system is in full swing including genomic sequencing.
The virus travels with people and so the more folk move around the more chances it has to spread. This is also why it is crucial that in Orkney we ensure that we limit how the virus can get into the islands.
The Scottish Government has said that it will look into testing centres at entry points to the islands.
Orkney Constituency MSP Liam McArthur, LibDem, met with the Minister for Public Health, Mairi Gougeon and the Islands Minister, Paul Wheelhouse on Friday to discuss the option. They agreed on the need to look at how such a testing system might be made to work in practice, indicating they would welcome proposals from the island authorities and health boards.
Liam McArthur said:
“I am grateful to both Ministers for their constructive approach and welcome confirmation that the Scottish Government is keen to work with the island authorities and health boards on proposals for mass testing at airports and ferry ports.
“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 Orkney Islands Council, NHS Orkney and other stakeholders to help develop proposals for how a scheme might be made to work effectively”.
The Vaccination Programme
In Orkney 7,813 people have had their first dose of the vaccine or 41.8% of the islands population.
In Scotland (as of 1st of March 2021) 1,611,578 people have received the first dose of the Covid vaccination and 78,865 have received their second dose.
- 31,521 care home residents (exceeding the initial target for residents in older adult care homes and 99% of residents in all care homes)
- 44,256 care home staff (98% of staff in older adult care homes and 85% of staff in all care homes)
- 300,147 frontline health and social care workers exceeding the initial target provided by Health Boards.
- 160,157 people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (89% of those on the shielding list
13,878 second dose vaccinations of care homes residents (46% of residents in older adult care homes and 43% of residents in all care homes).
The Covid stats for Scotland , 1st March 2021:
- 386 new cases of COVID-19 reported
- 9,982 new tests for COVID-19 that reported results – 4.5% of these were positive
- 0 new reported death(s) of people who have tested positive (noting that Register Offices are now generally closed at weekends)
- 71 people were in intensive care yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
- 824 people were in hospital yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
It is crucial that we all continue to follow the public health rules
- wear a face covering
- avoid crowded places
- clean hands and surfaces regularly
- stay 2m away from other people
- self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste)
- download the Protect Scotland contact tracing app
Commenting on the Brazilian variant, Jeane Freeman Health Secretary in the Scottish Government , said:
“This new variant demonstrates how serious Covid is and reinforces the need to minimise the spread of the virus.
“We would encourage everyone across the country to adhere to the necessary public health restrictions by staying at home except for essential purposes as this is the single best way of staying safe and stopping the spread of this virus.
“It is now also illegal for anyone to travel to or from Scotland unless it is for an essential reason.”