Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Barra and Vatersay to move to Level 4 to counter significant Covid outbreak

Islanders on Barra and Vatersay will be put under stricter lockdown restrictions from midnight to help tackle the Covid outbreak in the area.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the move from Level 3 to level 4 as 40 people were confirmed with the virus and 15% of the population are self-isolating.

The tighter restrictions will apply only to Barra and Vatersay, which is connected by a causeway, and not to the wider Western Isles.

Ms Sturgeon said there is concern that without additional measures the “significant outbreak” could spread more widely across the Western Isles and potentially impact on care home and clinical services.

She said the move to Level 4 had been agreed by the national incident management team and cabinet in consultation with the local authority and NHS Western Isles.

All affected businesses, including hospitality and non-essential retail, which will have to close, will be eligible for business support.

“As the outbreak comes under control, which we hope will happen relatively soon, we will of course consider how quickly Barra and Vatersay can move back to Level 3”, she said.

Last night NHS Western Isles reported three new cases of Covid-19 in the islands –one in Barra linked to the outbreak, one in Benbecula, linked to previous cases and one in Stornoway, linked to mainland travel.

On Monday chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith said the situation in Barra was “a good example of what happens when perhaps people let their guard down and come together”.

But island politicians said people were following the toughest regulations in place.

Test and Protect identifies gatherings on Barra that broke coronavirus rules

Local MP Angus MacNeil said: “Firstly, this is the official designations catching up with the reality of the situation in Barra as people have been voluntarily in Level 4 in their actions for about a week now since the first Covid-19 cases emerged.

“This is good that it is only in Barra and not impacting the other islands. It is good that the distinction has been made.

“Hopefully, we can get this Covid situation in Barra under control soon. It looks like the rate of positives is going in the right direction already but still there is much to be done.

“We must remember social distancing when in shops, staying at home and not travelling unnecessarily and washing our hands regularly.”

Islands’ MSP Alasdair Allan added: “People in Barra and Vatersay have already voluntarily been observing level 4 rules for some time now. In an online meeting with representatives of the community yesterday, it was very clear that they are treating this situation seriously and I therefore doubt if this move will impose any restrictions that they are not already imposing on themselves.

“With 40 confirmed cases and over 15 percent of the islands’ population now self-isolating, the virus is clearly having a major impact. However my understanding is that vaccination roll out and testing on the island are both going well.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in