Stay put! A message from NHS Shetland's Public Health Consultant, Dr Susan Laidlaw

NHS Shetland’s Public Health Consultant Dr Susan Laidlaw explains why we have to stay away from others to stop COVID-19.

The government ‘lockdown’ to stop the spread of COVID-19 is not a holiday and the Shetland community must not treat it as such, says NHS Shetland’s Public Health Consultant Dr Susan Laidlaw.

“It is not for drives out the countryside, or visits to family, or having a chat in the shops and it is definitely not for parties and congregating in groups.

“This is a global public health emergency, and we all need to do all we can to slow down the spread of the coronavirus,” Dr Laidlaw said.

The ‘lockdown’ was the only way to protect NHS services from collapsing which would happen if there was a surge of sick and dying people needing care.

“This is the only way to give people who are sick with COVID-19 the best chance of recovery, and to make sure we can still care for people with cancer, heart attacks, strokes or sepsis, pregnant women and critically ill babies, for example,” she said.

Dr Laidlaw’s comments follow reports that some in the Shetland community were not abiding by the lockdown with socialising happening out of the public eye.

“Everyone needs to get into the mindset that they are staying at home and cannot go outside while this is happening. Don’t try and challenge it or work out how you can bend the rules to suit yourself.”

There are specific exceptions to the stay-at-home rule.

These are if you:

-         work but cannot fulfil your work obligations from home;

-         work for essential health or care services;

-         provide essential care for someone else;

-         are taking daily exercise (within reason);

-         have been advised to for essential health reasons.

“The fewer people moving around and coming into contact with each other, directly or indirectly, then the harder it will be for the virus to spread around and infect people.”

Dr Laidlaw warned that a person could spread the virus even if they were not infected but just through touch. “This is why handwashing is so important.”

“There are plenty of people who have no option but the go out to work, or to buy food or care for vulnerable people. And for others there will others for whom this is a horrendous situation because they are living with domestic abuse for example. But we have to try and minimise the movement and contact between people as much as we can to reduce the spread of the virus, so, unless you have one of the reasons above for going out, or are in an unsafe situation, stay put!”

For more information visit NHS Inform