Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan is urging island residents to follow the advice of health professionals following the first case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) found in Scotland (in the Tayside area over the weekend).

Scottish officials have conducted over 700 screenings for the virus since the year began. The NHS is also contacting people who have spent 15 minutes or more within two meters of someone infected.

Currently, the exact way in which the Coronavirus spreads has not been determined, but similar viruses have been transmitted through the inhalation of sneezes and coughing.

A helpline has been set up for people who do not have symptoms but are looking for general information at 0800 028 2816. Those who think they may have the virus or have recently travelled to an affected area are encouraged to contact their GP or call NHS 24 on 111.

The islands MSP has also written to the Scottish Government to ask for information on the resilience plans for island communities in the event of a viral outbreak.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“It is critical not to panic, but rather to follow the advice and guidance of health officials.

“Although only one case of the virus has been detected thus far, it is likely that more people in Scotland will test positive. However, people can take several basic hygiene measures—such as washing hands frequently—to significantly reduce the chances of getting the illness.

“I would like to thank and commend our health professionals for their tireless efforts to reduce the spread of Coronavirus spread in the country. I would also recommend that people visit nhsinform.scot for updates and more information from the NHS.”

Current advice from NHS Scotland on reducing the risk of infection is:

• Avoid direct hand contact with eyes, mouth or nose.
• Maintain good hand hygiene, washing with soap and water or hand sanitiser: after coughing/sneezing; using the toilet; or before eating/drinking.
• Avoid direct contact with people who have a respiratory illness and avoid using their personal items, such as a mobile phone.
• Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a disposable tissue and disposing of it in the nearest waste bin after use.

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