Coilla Drake, The Labour candidate for the Orkney Constituency in the Scottish Parliament elections has put forward options for easing covid restrictions in the islands.
Coilla Drake said:
“We all want our lives to return back to a greater degree of normality, but we also want that return to be as safe as is practically possible. Family and community is very important for Orcadians, so is our way of life and economy. All of these have been severely disrupted by the pandemic.
“Recently we have seen some light at the end of the tunnel but this has come with the need to make choices. The Scottish Government asked us to take part in a consultation about this, we were offered only two choices. On April 26th move to Level 2 with eased restrictions locally but only essential travel with Scottish mainland, or remain in level 3 with travel opened up.
“There are of course other options. Orkney has now had no locally based Covid infections for a number of weeks. Our vaccination programme has progressed very well. There is no reason for us to continue in Level 3 until April 26th. Testing at the point of departure has been mentioned but not implemented, this could and should be put in place as soon as possible.
“Therefore another option would be to open up locally now. Moving to Level 2 immediately, and whilst remaining vigilant, progressing down through the levels over the coming weeks if our situation remains stable. Testing at the point of departure should be put in place straight away for those making essential journeys to Orkney. This will protect us, as far as is possible, from incoming infection. It will also bed in the system ready to scale up, to deal with greater numbers when we do open up for travel.
“Meantime we should observe the progress made against Covid in mainland Scotland. This way we can choose a time to open up for travel and tourism when we know the effect of decreasing restrictions there. Support for Orkney businesses affected by this gradual easing must, of course, remain in place.
“This more nuanced and gradual approach seems to have support among many Orcadians. It allows our families, local communities and businesses to return to some normality, and reduces the risk of Covid coming into our Islands.”
There are 4 candidates standing for the Orkney Constituency in the Scottish Parliament elections to be held on Thursday 6th of May.
- Samuel Bown – Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.
- Coilla Drake – Scottish Labour Party.
- Robert Fraser Leslie – Scottish National Party (SNP).
- Liam Scott McArthur – Scottish Liberal Democrats.