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Public health advice issued ahead of Level Three restrictions

As Level Three COVID-19 restrictions are set to come into force on Boxing Day, NHS Orkney and Orkney Islands Council have issued public health advice.

Travel in or out of Level Three and Four Local Authority areas across Scotland, and to and from the rest of the UK will be prohibited except for essential reasons such as work or healthcare purposes — essentially limiting any travel off Orkney.

However, any patients with health appointments on the mainland of Scotland should plan to attend unless they hear anything to the contrary.

For anyone that cannot avoid travel, on your return to Orkney, it is advised to not make any non-essential visits or undertake social activities for ten days after your return to make sure you do not put people around you at risk.

This applies even if you are tested for COVID-19 and receive a negative result.

NHS Orkney’s public health team continues to urge everyone to follow the FACTS guidance about wearing face coverings, avoiding crowded areas, good hand and respiratory hygiene, social distancing and ensuring people self-isolate and book a test if they are feeling unwell.

The specific symptoms to look out for are a fever, a new persistent cough or a loss of taste or smell.

NHS Orkney board chairwoman Meghan McEwen said: “Orkney residents have had a hard year, and this new guidance will ask even more of us. In order to keep our community safe we must follow these new guidelines. COVID doesn’t understand geography or holidays. Please follow all the guidance and keep one another safe.”

Council leader, Councillor James Stockan added: “It is in all our interests to keep transmission levels to an absolute minimum. This is the best way to protect vulnerable people in the community and also support our health and care services through the winter months. We haven’t seen new cases in Orkney since the beginning of December but we mustn’t become complacent, particularly in light of the new variant that has been identified”.

NHS Orkney has a direct phone line for people with symptoms to book a  test. This is 888 211 between  8am and 6pm seven days a week.

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