You will no doubt of course be aware of the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic which is facing all of us. The changes we have been asked to make are difficult, but are absolutely vital for us to slow the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.
I am pleased that the vast majority of people in Dundee respected the measures that have been implemented and stayed home, despite the good weather. Defeating this virus depends on each and every one of us playing our own part. It’s not easy. It’s very difficult not being able to see our family and friends right now. However, by following the instructions to stay at home, we will protect our loved ones from harm and help all of us get back to normal quicker.
The hard work of our key workers must be acknowledged. I am grateful to each and every key worker playing their part to keep us safe and healthy, caring for those in need, keeping our food supplies topped up, keeping our communities safe from harm and many other important jobs. I have been proud to applaud these workers.
This is undoubtedly the biggest challenge we have faced in our lifetimes and the measures which we take to deal with it must reflect its magnitude. I thank you for your patience and hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well. Of course, please do not hesitate to contact me or my team should I be able to provide any support or assistance. I believe that by working together and supporting each other, we will get through this - together.
Shona Robison MSP
Local Resources in Dundee City East
During the lockdown period, it is vital that lockdown rules are followed closely to protect the NHS and save lives. As more evidence becomes available, the situation will continue to be reviewed and measures should continue to ease. For now the clear instructions are to stay safe, protect others and save lives.
The Scottish Government has published a route map for Scotland's journey out of lockdown and back to our normal way of life. This can be read in full here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-framework-decision-making-scotlands-route-map-through-out-crisis/
We have now entered Phase 2 of lifting the lockdown, with some measures being eased. Regardless, you should still stay at home where possible and stay within 5 miles of your local area. This 5 mile limit is not fixed in law but it is strongly advised not to travel further than this for recreation or leisure.
Maintaining our progress depends on all of us abiding by public health guidance, which now matters more than ever.
The main permissible reasons for leaving your home include:
Shopping for basic necessities;
Exercise and permitted sports, including golf, tennis, bowls and fishing;
Medical reasons, for yourself, or if providing care or to support a vulnerable person;
Travel to work if it cannot be done from home.
If you do leave your home, then you must follow all necessary social distancing and hygiene measures. These include keeping around 2 metres away from other people outside of your immediate household, taking care not to touch your face, and washing your hands.
Face coverings are now mandatory on all public transport, including taxis and private hire cabs, buses, trains, the Glasgow subway, planes, and enclosed areas on ferries. Face coverings help to reduce the transmission of the virus. There are exemptions for those who are unable to wear face coverings for health reasons, and they should not be used for children under the age of 5 years old.
You and up to two other households are now able to meet another household out of doors - for example, in a park or private garden. The total number of people between two households should be a maximum of 8. You should not meet with more than two households at a time per day. You also avoid going into someone else's house, though you can if necessary enter to use the toilet - subject to strict hygiene measures.
Anyone who lives by themselves - or only with children under 18 - can form an "extended household" with one other household. Within this group, people will be able to meet indoors without physical distancing and can stay overnight if they wish to. However, hygiene measures should still be considered.
Children under 18 can move between households but should take all necessary hygiene and social distancing precautions. Childcare will be available to be available to a larger number of children who need it. For example, vulnerable children and children of essential workers. Childminding services and fully outdoor nursery provision will start to reopen but there will be limits on the number of children that can be cared for. Some key public services such as respite care, children's hearings and some key health programmes will also begin to restart.
Those with caring responsibilities should carry them out, but follow distancing and hygiene measures (such as washing their hands).
Street access retail (ie. high street shops) and indoor workplaces can now re-open with guidance implemented. Interiors of shopping centres / malls remain closed for non-essential shops.
Garden centres and plant nurseries can re-open some of their services. Outdoor markets can also re-open.
Drive-through food outlets are no longer discouraged from re-opening.
Outdoor businesses such as zoos and garden attractions can now re-open.
Most outdoor work that has been put on hold can resume and the construction industry can move to the next phase of it's restart plan.
Restrictions on moving home have now been eased.
Playgrounds can now re-open. Sitting and sunbathing in parks and open areas are also allowed.
Professional sport can resume behind closed doors.
Household waste recycling centres can now re-open.
Communal places such as libraries are closed.
Places of worship can re-open for individual prayer or worship only. Funerals continue to have restrictions on attendance.
Outdoors-only marriages and civil partnerships are allowed with minimal attendees. Registration offices are open for high-priority tasks.
From 3rd July, there will be a phased return to visiting in care homes where there have been no coronavirus cases for 28 days. At the moment, it can only be a single nominated visitor, outdoors with PPE and social distancing.
Teachers and other staff are able to enter schools for the purpose of preparing to re-open on 11th August. Returning to school is dependent on factors such as continuing reductions in infection rates. Blended learning is a contingency that may need to be enacted if there is an increase of infection rates.
You should not visit island communities except for essential purposes.
Regulations to enforce these rules are now in effect. If people do not follow these rules, they could get an on the spot £30 fine, increasing to £60 if not paid in 28 days. If necessary, people could be prosecuted and liable to pay a fine of up to £10,000. Businesses and premises not complying can also be fined.
The decision to further lift restrictions will need to be solidly based and not premature. Lifting restrictions prematurely risks undoing all the progress we have made in tackling the virus. Evidence will continue to be assessed to ensure the correct decisions are made at the right time.
The latest up-to-date healthcare advice can be found online at www.NHSInform.scot.
If somebody has symptoms of Covid-19, a persistent cough or fever, they should isolate themselves for 7 days. Anyone who suspects they have Covid-19 should be tested. Tests can be booked via NHS 24 on 0800 028 2816 or at www.NHSInform.scot.
In addition, anyone else in a household where someone has symptoms should isolate for 14 days. That covers the 7 days for which the first person is infectious, and a further 7 days to see if they or anyone else gets the virus.
If patients with coronavirus symptoms see their condition worsen or not go away after 7 days, they should dial NHS24 on 111 – day or night – and not their GP.
The Test and Protect scheme is being rolled out across Scotland. It involves anyone with symptoms contacting the NHS to arrange a test and once tested, immediately self-isolating with their household.
If you test positive, you’ll then be asked to share details of the people you’ve been in contact with. Contact tracers will then get in touch with those contacts. If you receive a call from a contact tracer to say you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you will be asked to self-isolate immediately.
More information can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/news/test-and-protect-rolled-out-nationally/
Anyone without Covid-19 symptoms looking for general information should phone the free NHS Scotland helpline on 0800 028 2816. This line is open from 8am to 10pm.
People invited to an appointment at an assessment centre are not permitted to use public transport to prevent the spread of the virus. This will of course be challenging for those without cars. Ambulances have met this need so far, and the Scottish Government is in discussion with the taxi industry and car hire firms to seek additional support for transporting people to assessment centres.
There are constraints on the availability of a number of ICU critical care medicines due to global demand increases, and the Department of Health and Social Care is working with the pharmaceutical industry to make sure supplies are available across the UK. ICU provision in Scotland is being quadrupled to over 700.
In the longer term the Scottish Government is looking at the possibility of antibody tests which may tell us who has already had the virus.
By far, the best way to support the NHS during this crisis is to stay at home as much as possible, as per the following advice:
Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.
Shielding for Vulnerable People
Shielding measures are being put in place to protect those at the highest risk from coronavirus due to their pre-existing health conditions. There are over 175,000 people across Scotland in this ‘Group One’. The shielding period is set to last until July 31st.
Letters have been issued to those in Group One. These letters give information on how to shield yourself from infection and what support is available. If you have not received one of these letters, but feel that you should have, then you should contact your GP to rectify this. Support for shielded individuals includes home deliveries of essential food items and toiletries through a text message service.
The Scottish Government is also working with supermarkets to make priority delivery slots available to people in the highest risk groups. A message has been sent to all those registered with the Shielding service asking if they would like their details passed to the supermarkets to enable these priority deliveries. Anyone without a mobile phone can also register through their local authority.
Anyone shielding is now able to go outdoors and engage in non-contact activities while complying with 2 metres social distancing. Everyone who is currently shielding will receive a letter from the Chief Medical Officer outlining how they can stay safe when outdoors.
More information on the shielding service can be found through the link below:
‘Group Two’ consists of people who are still considered to be vulnerable but less at risk compared to those in Group One. A new national helpline has been set up on 0800 111 4000, aimed at supporting Group Two.
Calling this number will link you with local authority services, who will help callers with support for food and medication, social work services and emotional support. However, it does not give access to free food deliveries being made to the Group One shielded group, nor priority delivery slots at supermarkets.
Volunteer to Help
The Scottish Government has launched the “Scotland Cares” campaign to encourage volunteering if people are in a position to do so. So far, over 74,000 people have registered their interest – an outstanding response.
Anyone wishing to volunteer should visit: https://www.readyscotland.org/coronavirus/
General volunteers will be directed to information about becoming a community reserve volunteer. Returning health and care service workers will be directed to information about arrangements already in place.
Get in touch
My office staff and I continue to work to support constituents in the Dundee City East constituency. We are working from home but can still be contacted as outlined below.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch should I be able to offer any assistance.
• Phone: 01382 903219 / 01382 903218
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Social: @ShonaRobisonMSP