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Orkney community leaders plea for public to help reduce Covid spread

Orkney is a centre of archaeological discovery.
Orkney is a centre of archaeological discovery.

Community leaders in Orkney are urging the public to “double down” on their efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19.

They have also warned that more restrictions are likely to come in the future as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly across the UK.

The plea comes from the Orkney Partnership – Orkney’s community planning partnership, made up of organisations from across the public and third sectors.

So far the Orkney Islands are one of the few places that have yet to record a case of the Omicron variant.

Meghan McEwan, chairwoman of NHS Orkney, said: “As we begin to understand the Omicron variant. It’s likely that the national picture will change rapidly – and that more restrictions could be put in place by the government.

“All household contacts of confirmed cases, Omicron or not, now need to isolate for 10 days regardless of vaccination status or a negative PCR result.

“Non-household contacts can end isolation after receiving a negative PCR result if double vaccinated and have no symptoms.

“We are well underway with our vaccination boosters and aim to have all booster vaccines administered by the middle of January with all appointment letters out before Christmas.”

Community leaders urge the public to do more to stop the spread.

Due to the threat of the Omicron variant, several events in Orkney have been cancelled with more likely to follow this week.

While being a remote location, the Orkney Islands could become more isolated due to restrictions on travel.

James Stockan, chairman of the Orkney Partnership, said: “Nobody wants to see restrictions coming in at a time when we are keen to be together in celebration – but the reality is that the new variant is spreading at an alarming rate– and the best way to battle it is to restrict opportunities for the virus to spread.

“The Christmas break will inevitably see folk returning home to their families in Orkney – and we would encourage them to take lateral flow tests before they do and before they leave Orkney again, and for all of us to continue to test ourselves on a regular basis.”

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