The Western Isles were in a perfect position to resist the possible onslaught of Coronavirus, according to an article in today’s Guardian newspaper (Friday 24 April).
Experts in living with extreme weather, ferry cancellations and isolated living, it seems we were always likely to do better with the social and behavioural changes needed to resist the spread of the illness.
Scotland editor Severin Carroll also enumerated early suspension of all but essential ferry services and a high degree of local compliance with lockdown regulations as factors which could have led to the low number of positive tests for Covid-19 in the Western Isles.
Last night NHS Western Isles chief executive Gordon Jamieson listed three items of good news – 13 days without a new confirmed case of the virus, the likely arrival of ‘consumables’ needed for local testing to begin on Monday next week (27 April) and extra medical evacuation capacity.
On the third point, he gave confirmation that a Twin Otter and a Saab aircraft are now ready to enter service as medical evacuation aircraft, with space and fittings to carry epipods, which allow patients to be transferred to the mainland in isolation.
All island emergency planning services are, however, urging caution. It’s possible that the Western Isles could, as Mr Jamieson put it, be a few weeks behind the rest of Scotland, with a peak of cases still to come.
And Police Scotland are continuing to maintain high visibility patrols in the area, reminding islanders that unnecessary journeys and social gatherings still carry the risk of spreading infection and ruining our current good record in protecting the health of the island community.
The Guardian’s full story is at www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/apr/24/how-outer-hebrides-scotland-perfectly-primed-tackle-coronavirus