Orkney Specific Arrangements

Orkney is an archipelago, there is the prospect of Orkney taking a slightly different course, and there appears to be an appetite for that locally. The number of reported cases of confirmed Covid19 is small although it has been speculated that the true number is closer to 200 to 300. With comprehensive testing, these cases could all be identified. The people they have been in touch with contact traced, isolated and tested. If the WHO Six Conditions are met, certain restrictions could be eased before the rest of Scotland.
The restriction of travel in and out of Orkney to mainland Scotland and beyond has been effective and we would wish this to continue but with all those who do travel to Orkney required to self-isolate for 14 days.
An effective trace, test, isolate and support programme would, however, enable movement within the islands to be relaxed whilst still maintaining social distancing and strict observance of personal hygiene.
Orkney is not a country with a state and national health service at its disposal, it is Scotland’s smallest county with a council and a local health board. We would need capacity to test and track thousands of people in a week while our current capacity to carry out tests remains in the hundreds. We would need outside expertise and national resources. Although Orkney would need national resources to do this, the lessons learned from implementing the recommendations of the WHO in Orkney would be invaluable for the rest of Scotland and the UK. Any attempt to relax the lockdown in Orkney without following the WHO Six Conditions will be resisted in the islands. However, a roadmap that followed the WHO 6 Conditions should be welcomed and provide immeasurable benefits to the county and Scotland.

Why the contribution is important

If Orkney is to recover economically it is imperative that we can ease lockdown restrictions within our archipelago once it is safe to do so. Inshore fishing and farming are hugely important traditional sectors to Orkney’s economy. It is vital that products can be transported between the islands so food can be sold whilst still fresh. For the mental wellbeing of Orcadians, many in single person households, the easing of restrictions to movement would be a significantly positive change. For our schools too, many with small numbers of pupils the ability to restart with social distancing measures in place could be achievable.
This proposal is for a bespoke Orkney response to Covid19 by using the expertise and facilities we have in the islands and nationally to undertake an immediate programme of contact tracing, testing, isolation and support.

by fionagrahame on May 08, 2020 at 06:01PM

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  • Posted by MP May 09, 2020 at 10:15

    This idea does not take account of the high number of older population living in Orkney. These islands should not and cannot be a testing ground as the population density and make up dies not reflect the UK mainland. Thos is a terrible idea and shoukd not go forwatd unless the entire population of these islands agrees to it with at least a 90% majority.
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