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coronavirus

Island travellers encouraged to undertake two COVID tests prior to arrival

Travellers to Scotland’s island communities are being encouraged to undertake two COVID tests before departing their homes.

Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement during this afternoon’s COVID-19 briefing ahead of the easing of travel restrictions across the country from Monday, April 26.

The move is designed to act as an added safeguard to protect island communities where the prevalence of the virus is low.

Aside from a case attributed to a ship in Orkney waters, the last test-confirmed case of COVID-19 in Orkney was on February 18.

Orkney’s parliamentarians and council have been vocal advocates of implementing a point-of-entry testing system at ferry ports and Kirkwall Airport but so far this has not materialised.

Two lateral flow tests should be carried out — the first three days before your planned departure.

“That means if you test positive, you have a chance to take a PCR test which is more sensitive to confirm the result before making a final decision on cancelling your visit,” Ms Sturgeon said.

The second test should then be carried out on the day of your departure from your home.

“This is potentially an important way in which we can minimise the risk of bringing COVID into island communities while nevertheless allowing our island communities the benefit of allowing to open up again to visitors,” said Ms Sturgeon.

From Monday, it is possible for every resident in Scotland to order lateral flow tests either by ordering online or through a COVID test centre.

Elsewhere, from next Monday, people on the shielding list can return to the workplace — although Scotland’s First Minister urged those to work from home if possible.

Children also shielding can now return to school from Monday.

Monday will see some of the biggest easing of restrictions for the Scottish mainland moving from level four to three.

From May 17, it is intended that Scotland will move to level two and further down the levels later on in the summer.

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