There were no positive Covid-19 tests from anywhere on the Western Isles reported yesterday – after almost 30 over the previous three days.

But more testing is under way with more than 100 people on Barra and Vatersay already in self-isolation – more than a tenth of the islands’ population is affected.

Last night (Saturday January 17) the latest update from NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson said it was: “Good news: no new cases of COVID19 anywhere in the Western Isles.  A number of tests will be processed tomorrow.

“I know it is an anxious time for people who have been tested and are isolating.

“Please continue to take every precaution to keep our communities safe.

Meanwhile messages of support and sympathy have been streaming in from across the world.  On a community Facebook page: “Hang on in there, Barra! We are standing right next to you! Burbagebirders & LROS ...Leicestershire!”

And: “Praying so hard for precious loved ones and everyone on Barradise to get through this difficult time. Sending get well wishes to all affected by the virus and hopes for all others to stay safe and well. God bless, sending love 🙏🙏🙏❤️🤗😘 xxxx”

Meanwhile, the inevitable gossip-as-fact appeared in a well-known national tabloid newspaper blaming an island wedding for the outbreak.  This was dismissed as ‘ridiculous’ by an Islander who pointed out the supposed event had actually been small-scale and socially-distanced and – even more important – way back in December, before Christmas.  

There have been no reports of additional Covid-19 cases in Shetland – and two new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Orkney in the 24 hours up to yesterday afternoon.

Scotland Summary from yesterday (Saturday last week in brackets)

  • 1,753 new cases of COVID-19 reported (1865)
  • 24,314 new tests for COVID-19 reported results (26,352)
  • 8.4% of these were positive (8.7%)
  • 78 new reported deaths of people who have tested positive (93)
  • 1,863 people are in hospital with recently confirmed COVID-19 (1,596)
  • 145 people are in intensive care with recently confirmed COVID-19 (109)
  • 224,840 people have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination
  • 3,331 have received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination