Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Friday 29th May 2020
FERRY TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS UNCHANGED
As Scotland enters phase one of the lockdown transition, the Scottish Government announced that ferry capacity, remains restricted. Non-essential ferry travel, continues to be discouraged, to prevent spreading the virus to island communities
There are no changes to the current ferry timetables as yet, but an update will be announced in two weeks. While encouraging people to follow the new advice for emerging from lockdown, Nicola Sturgeon said “The route forward will be slow, careful and cautious. Where a visit by ferry, to a family member is essential, people should limit the number of trips to the absolute minimum”
Ideas being looked at, for island sea links, include reserving ferries for island residents, with tourists continuing to stay away for longer.
ACCESS TO TEST AND PROTECT IN THE WESTERN ISLES
NHS Western Isles continues to use local arrangements, to test a wide variety of individuals in line with government policy. Around 550 tests for COVID-19 have been taken in the Western Isles to date.
The national testing system promoted this week, is separate to the local testing arrangements. NHS Western Isles is in ongoing discussions, with national organisations to ensure arrangements are in place, for local access to the UK government scheme.
NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, Dr Maggie Watts, stated: “Locally we are focusing our testing, on people who are unwell with possible COVID-19 symptoms, including health, social care and emergency service workers, or members of their households. We are also testing people coming in to hospital or moving to care homes.
We are working towards access to the national testing service, this will be communicated out to our communities very shortly.” She added: “NHS Western Isles already has arrangements in place, to commence contact tracing with the next confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Western Isles.”
MEALS ON WHEELS AND BEFRIENDING IN POINT
Community wind farm organisation Point and Sandwick Trust has launched a new delivery, meals on wheels and befriending service in its latest effort to support the community in the fight against Covid-19. Three new members of staff have been appointed to make the deliveries and check in by telephone on the wellbeing of people in need, in the Point and Sandwick area.
A flyer informing households of the service has been produced and will drop through every letterbox in the Point and Sandwick area presently. The helpline will arranging the free delivery of groceries, telephone befriending service and a delivery of freshly cooked meals
Donald John MacSween, general manager of Point and Sandwick Trust, said: “PST are delighted to expand our Covid-19 Community Support, to include a daily cooked food delivery and befriending service with funding from the Corra Foundation,
This service is free and available to anyone in need in the Point and Sandwick area and is supported by our partners at Point Community Council and Sandwick Community Council.
COMHAIRLE HARBOURS UPDATE
In line with Scottish Government guidelines, laid out for Phase 1 easing of current lockdown restrictions, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar harbours will return open port access to local leisure craft users from today.
Individual users are to ensure they continue to adhere to all Scottish Government legislation and guidelines.Due to the unmanned nature of Comhairle harbours, users must take all necessary precautions in ensuring their own health and safety both in terms of COVID-19 and other general risks associated with waterborne activities.
BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION FUND RAISER
Residents of Lewis and Harris have raised more than £2,000 for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland during the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown.
An online quiz organised by the charity’s new Stornoway Fundraising Group raised £580.00.
Janice Ann Anderson, one of the group’s leaders, said "We're absolutely blown away by everyone's generosity. We couldn't have asked for better. It's a brilliant start to our local fundraising and we look forward to organising more fun virtual events soon."