NHS Western Isles is again reminding communities across the Western Isles of the crucial importance of both staying and home and physical distancing to keep the local NHS, the public and your families safe.

With the weather forecast looking reasonable, it is understandable that many people are tempted to enjoy time outdoors.

However, we must remind our local communities that restrictions remain in place for your safety and the safety of others.

We are also urging all local shops, businesses and organisations who are open to the public, or have staff physically present, to ensure they are following Government guidance, rules and legislation to keep both employees and customers safe.

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson said: “We are in a positive position here in the Western Isles at the current time, having had no positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed since April 10. We have only had six cases confirmed in total.

"Whilst this is good news, we cannot let this give us a false sense of security. Our objective is to continue to keep our local population safe and to protect our NHS capacity, and we would strongly urge people not to risk spreading the virus.”

Recent figures show that traffic levels on UK roads on Monday were at the highest level since the restrictions were introduced last month and it is cause for concern that this also seems to be reflected in certain parts of the Western Isles.

Mr Jamieson commented: “To echo the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, we have made very real progress in the fight against COVID-19, but the situation really is too fragile to let up or give up now. Our problem could change so quickly.

“Our unique situation here in the Western Isles is of particular fragility. We hear a lot of talk on the national news about the country having reached the ‘peak’ of the pandemic.

"I would remind our population here that we remain several weeks behind mainland Scotland in terms of the impact of this pandemic.

"We need to stick with the restrictions in place to ‘flatten the curve’ of the impact here as much as possible. We absolutely do not want to see, here in the Western Isles, a similar proportion of cases or the tragic loss of life that they have seen on the mainland.

“It is important to reiterate why we are doing what we are doing. It is not easy by any means and it is a huge sacrifice for each and every one of us. But the sacrifice in our freedom of movement now, is less harsh than the sacrifice of losing members of our community to this awful virus. We are literally staying at home to save lives. It is as simple and as stark as that.”

Reminders:

  • Physical distancing measures are for everyone, including children. We should all be trying to reduce our interaction with people to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Everyone must stay at home as far as possible, as you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms. Do not meet others, even friends or family. 

You must:

  • only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you can’t work from home).
  • Only use a car to travel for the purposes above, and only share a car with members of your own household .
  • only take one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk or cycle alone or with members of your household.  You can exercise more than once a day if you have a specific condition, such as autism or learning disabilities.
  • stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people at all times If you go out.
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home.