Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the move by the Scottish Government to limit ferry travel to essential passengers only.

The islands MSP has been inundated with requests from constituents for ferry travel to be restricted, after reports that an influx of people were travelling to rural areas in an ill-informed attempt to avoid coronavirus (COVID-19). This followed articles in national newspapers portraying rural and island communities as desirable places to somehow “escape” coronavirus (COVID-19).

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“Scotland’s islands are communities, full of families and people – many of them in groups particularly at risk due to coronavirus. They are not refuges from coronavirus and it is frankly outrageous that articles in some newspapers like the Daily Mail should try to paint them as such.

“I have spent much of this weekend speaking to constituents, Scottish Government Ministers and CalMac about this issue and I am grateful for the swift action and the announcement from the First Minister yesterday.

“While this should help to limit the spread of coronavirus to the islands, we cannot allow any room for complacency. People need to behave as it is already here and follow the advice from the Scottish Government and public health officials on hand washing and social distancing. This is a matter of saving lives.

“The Western Isles has achieved a well-deserved reputation for our hospitality, and for welcoming people from all over the world. We will still be here once this pandemic has subsided and tourists will be very welcome to visit then.”

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