Highland Covid-19 warning as restrictions set to ease further; Health chief: 'We can't do this on our own'
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RISING Covid-19 cases across Scotland has prompted a direct appeal to people in the Highlands from the area's senior public health chief.
The Highlands move into level 1 this weekend, representing a further relaxation of restrictions and greater freedom to travel and meet.
But a rise in cases in some parts of Scotland and a cluster in Fort William are being used as evidence that "Covid has not gone away" and the need to be careful.
Dr Tim Allison, director of public health with NHS Highland, said: “This has been such a challenging time for everyone but, thanks to how well people have followed the guidance, we are starting to see more freedom as we move to level one, or level zero for most of our island communities.
“However, Covid has not gone away. We have seen the impact in Glasgow and Moray but more locally, in Fort William, we are currently dealing with a significant outbreak which has impacted on many people, schools and local businesses.”
Dr Allison is encouraging everyone to follow the guidelines for the area they are in.
He said: “Relaxation of some of the restrictions we have been under is to be welcomed. Many of us will have enjoyed meeting up again with family and friends, and with the good weather we have been enjoying recently it’s much easier for us to meet them outside.
“Travel across the UK is also something we can now enjoy again but I would appeal for caution from anyone who is travelling, particularly if they are going to an area that has a higher number of cases as this risks bringing infection back to our local communities. Is the travel necessary? If you do visit areas that have a high rate of infection try to limit your contact with others on your return to limit any potential spread.
“Please continue to follow all the guidelines. Know what symptoms to look out for and, if you do experience symptoms isolate immediately and seek a PCR test.”
He added: “We continue to deliver the vaccine programme and I would encourage everyone to come forward for their vaccine when invited. When we have positive cases, our contact tracing helps us limit that spread as much as possible.
“However, we can’t do this on our own. It takes all of us across Highland, Argyll and Bute doing what we can to protect ourselves and others. By continuing with this we will be able to continue to enjoy the freedoms that we now have.”