Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has responded to the First Minster’s weekly Covid-19 statement in which updated guidance was outlined in light of the continued and anticipated rise in cases of the Omicron variant.
People in Orkney and across Scotland are being asked to limit socialising to three other households in the run up and immediate days after Christmas to try and slow the spread of Omicron. Hospitality businesses will also be under a legal requirement to reinforce measures to minimise the risk of transmission.
Following a nationwide shortage of Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) at the start of the week, Mr McArthur has also received assurance from NHS Orkney who have advised that there are "significant stocks" of LFT kits at the Kirkwall Vaccination Centre.
Commenting after the statement, Mr McArthur said:
"The rise in Omicron cases is understandably of great concern and I would urge everyone to continue to abide by the protective measures. Ultimately, we all have a role to play to helping to reduce transmission and this will require everyone to step-up our collective efforts over the coming weeks.
"Meantime, following mixed messages from government last week which resulted in bookings being cancelled and the hospitality and travel sector thrown into a tailspin, I welcome the First Minister’s commitment to extra support for affected businesses. The eligibility criteria and extent of the support is yet to be clarified, but the signal is an important one in these uncertain times.
"With the strong advice for people to undertake regular lateral flow tests, I have been concerned to hear from constituents about difficulties in accessing supplies. I have received assurances from NHS Orkney that there is sufficient stock locally, available via the Kirkwall Vaccination Centre. I will also be speaking to local pharmacies to see how they can assist in helping meet local need."