ENDING OF THE VIRTUAL PARLIAMENT IS RECKLESS SAYS, ISLES MP
Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP, Angus B MacNeil has taken the decision, not to travel to Westminster, when Parliament reconvenes today. The MP has indicated he is not willing to risk catching and spreading coronavirus, among his constituents in Na H-Eileanan an Iar
Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said: “The removal of the virtual parliament discriminates against Scottish MPs, who are now being forced to choose between breaking the lockdown or attending Westminster.
“The Leader of the House of Commons has stated that Parliament would be Covid-19 secure by 2nd June. We do not have the evidence for this.
The hybrid system that was in place was working well, for remote participation and voting, committees will continue to operate with this virtual system, although the chamber, is not.
Read more: Isles FM News - Tuesday 2nd June 2020
TEST AND PROTECT FOR ISLES
The UK Government Testing Scheme, is now available in the Western Isles.
Eligible Western Isles residents, can currently access the national system online, through NHSInform, and by a system of postal self tests.
To ensure full access to the scheme, NHS Western Isles, will be launching an enhancement next week, whereby those with COVID-19 symptoms, can go online or telephone, to book a test locally.
These tests will be carried out by healthcare staff in the Western Isles and will be processed on the mainland. Results will be returned to NHS Western Isles, who will contact patients individually, once results are received.
Different arrangements are required for the Western Isles, due to regional drive through and mobile testing units, not being available to residents.
Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Monday 1st June 2020
FERRY TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS UNCHANGED
As Scotland enters phase one of the lockdown transition, the Scottish Government announced that ferry capacity, remains restricted. Non-essential ferry travel, continues to be discouraged, to prevent spreading the virus to island communities
There are no changes to the current ferry timetables as yet, but an update will be announced in two weeks. While encouraging people to follow the new advice for emerging from lockdown, Nicola Sturgeon said “The route forward will be slow, careful and cautious. Where a visit by ferry, to a family member is essential, people should limit the number of trips to the absolute minimum”
Ideas being looked at, for island sea links, include reserving ferries for island residents, with tourists continuing to stay away for longer.
Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Friday 29th May 2020
MSP ALLAN RAISES TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS IN HOLYROOD
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan raised the issue of travel restrictions to and from the Western Isles, in the Scottish Parliament this week.
The islands MSP, attending remotely from his home in Lewis, asked how the travel restrictions to the Western Isles, fit in with the publication of the Scottish Government’s route map, for moving out of lockdown.
Alasdair Allan MSP commented:
“The travel restrictions on Western Isles ferries continues to play, an important part in containing the spread of the virus in the islands.
“As we chart a route out of lockdown, it is important that any changes to the restrictions are handled with extreme care and done with the broad consent of communities.
“I was pleased to receive an assurance that, before any changes are made, there will be engagement with the island authorities, to look at these issues and to ensure that any changes are introduced appropriately. The need for physical distancing on ferries, will reduce capacity, this will have a serious impact on who is able to travel and means that access to the islands, will have to be carefully managed for some time.”
Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Thursday 28th May 2020