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Cruise ship set to land in Kirkwall despite public concern

Some Orkney residents have called for cruise traffic to be halted in Orkney, in the wake of the UK coronavirus outbreak.

Despite calls from some members of the public for cruise ship arrivals to be suspended in Orkney, in the wake of the UK COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, Orkney Islands Council has confirmed that — as of this afternoon, Friday — a vessel carrying up to 1,250 passengers is still scheduled to arrive in Kirkwall, this Saturday.

Some Orkney residents are worried that the arrival of the Magellan, tomorrow, could heighten the risk of the virus entering Orkney. The vessel is making its way to the county from Shetland, which has six confirmed cases of the illness.

In response to concerns, Orkney Islands Council has previously stated that it has had port health procedures in place for many years for dealing with cases of infection aboard ships of all kinds.

The councils said that all cruise ships have been asked to provide a Medical Declaration of Health before arriving in Orkney, whether or not they have any illness on board.

If there was a suspected case of COVID-19 aboard a ship, the council’s port health and NHS Orkney’s public health teams would work in conjunction with Health Protection Scotland and the Scottish Government, to decide on the best course of action to take.

OIC has not given any indication that this position has changed ahead of the arrival of the Magellan, and has stated that it will be continuing to follow national guidelines on this matter.