The cumulative total of Covid cases in Orkney is now at 2,936.
From 13th to the 19th of February, 339 positive Covid cases were recorded in Orkney.
The stats for Scotland published on 22nd February 2022 are as follows:
- 6,427 new cases of COVID-19 reported.
- 18 new reported deaths of people who have tested positive
- 12 people were in intensive care yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
- 1,060 people were in hospital yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
- 4,433,160 people have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, 4,152,325 have received their second dose, and 3,404,119 have received a third dose or booster
The British Medical Association (BMA) has responded to PM Boris Johnson’s statement on the UK Government’s ‘Living with Covid’ strategy, which includes the removal of free Covid-19 tests for the public from 1 April in England.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“Today’s [21.02.22] announcement fails to protect those at highest risk of harm from Covid-19, and neglects some of the most vulnerable people in society.
“We recognise the need, after two years of the pandemic, to begin thinking about how we adjust our lives to manage living alongside Covid-19, but as the BMA has persistently said the decision to bring forward the removal of all protective measures while cases, deaths and the number of people seriously ill remain so high is premature.
“Living with Covid-19 must not mean ignoring the virus all together – which in many respects the Government’s plan in England seems to do.
“On the one hand the Government says it will keep monitoring the spread of the virus, and asks individuals to take greater responsibility for their own decisions, but by removing free testing for the vast majority of the population on the other, ministers are taking away the central tool to allow both of these to happen.
“Far from giving people more freedom, today’s announcement is likely to cause more uncertainty and anxiety.
“Crucially, it will create a two-tier system, where those who can afford to pay for testing – and indeed to self-isolate – will do so, while others will be forced to gamble on the health of themselves and others.
“Covid-19 has already disproportionately impacted those on lower incomes, in insecure employment and from ethnic minorities. This move threatens to exacerbate these health inequalities.
“People will want to do the right thing, and not knowingly put others at risk if they are infected, but how can they make such a judgement if they have no way of knowing if they’re carrying the virus or not? This is especially important for those who come into contact with people who are at much greater risk of becoming ill with Covid-19, such as elderly relatives or those who are clinically vulnerable.
“Providing free tests to clinically vulnerable people – and only once they develop symptoms and are potentially very unwell – but not providing any free tests to friends or family who come into contact with them is completely illogical, as the priority should be protecting them from infection in the first place. The same goes for care home staff, who will only be tested if they have symptoms, by which time they could have passed on the virus to vulnerable residents.
“There must also be urgent clarity around testing provision for NHS workers. People visit hospitals and surgeries to get better, and not to be exposed to deadly viruses, and the continuation of testing for healthcare workers is invaluable in protecting both staff and patients.
“That plans are underway for a new booster programme is sensible but we must not – as we have continued to state – rely solely on vaccination to protect the nation. The necessity for further boosters underlines that Covid-19 will continue to present a challenge for healthcare services and wider society for potentially many years to come. And while the Prime Minister talks about Omicron resulting in a mild illness for most, others will still become very unwell with Covid-19, and an estimated more than one million people continue to live with long-Covid – themselves needing ongoing care.
“As part of ‘learning to live with Covid’, protections must be maintained for the most vulnerable, including the provision of enhanced face masks, and clear guidance for both patients and clinicians. Meanwhile, all people must be financially supported to do the right thing, and the removal of self-isolation payments, and then access to statutory sick pay in a months’ time, is incredibly concerning, as it will mean people cannot afford to stay at home if they are unwell. In healthcare settings, enhanced infection prevention measures – including mask-wearing for patients and enhanced PPE for staff – must remain, while in the longer-term premises are in desperate need of improvements, such as higher standards of ventilation, to limit the spread of infections.
“And with such a planned scale back of free testing, it is imperative that the Government keeps its commitment to continue other surveillance methods, including the ONS infection survey1, and to not hesitate to act on worrying surges of infections or new dangerous variants.”
Medical professionals in England have been commenting on social media what the Tory Government’s plans will do.
It was confirmed on Monday, 21st of February by Boris Johnson that the final restrictions will end in England on Thursday and the free mass testing will stop from April 1.
Over 161,000 people have died in the UK from Covid – over 140,000 in England.
The Scottish Government will publish a revised Strategic Framework which will set out an updated approach to managing and recovering from COVID-19, later on today.
It also means for places like Orkney, as it opens up for an increase in tourist numbers, including cruise ships, that people will be arriving in the islands who quite possibly have Covid.
In Scotland it is still mandatory to wear a face covering in shops and indoor public places. To keep ourselves and others safe please:
- get the vaccine or the vaccine booster
- take regular lateral flow tests – especially before mixing with other people or visiting a hospital or care home – get lateral flow tests
- follow the guidance on self-isolating and booking a test
- wear a face covering where required
- if mixing with others, try to gather in small groups only
- wash your hands regularly and cover your nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing
- open windows when meeting indoors
- a mixture of home and office working is allowed
- use the apps: COVID status, Protect Scotland and Check-in Scotland