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 was pleased that, over the Easter weekend, 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 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 every Thursday and I hope you will join me in doing so.
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 be reviewed, but for now the clear instructions are to stay at home.
The permissible reasons for leaving your home at this time include:
1. Shopping for basic necessities – but only once a day, at the most;
2. Exercise, alone or with your household, not in groups, no more than once a day;
3. Medical reasons, for yourself, or if providing care or to support a vulnerable person;
4. Travel to essential work if it absolutely cannot be done from home.
If you do leave your home for any of the above reasons, 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.
All social events and public gatherings of more than two people – excluding households or for essential work related purposes - are banned.
Communal places such as libraries and playgrounds are closed.
Places of worship are closed, except for funerals, which are restricted to immediate family.
Children under 18 can move between households but should take all necessary hygiene and social distancing precautions.
Those with caring responsibilities should carry them out, but follow distancing and hygiene measures (such as washing their hands).
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 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.
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. Callers to the 111 helpline will be assessed and – if necessary – transferred to a community hub.
Those with mild symptoms do not need to be tested.
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.
The Health Secretary has announced £15 million in additional funding for GP practices.
Work is underway to quadruple ICU capacity to more than 700. The Scottish Government is also working with suppliers to ensure additional ventilators arrive in Scotland as quickly as possible.
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.
Bed capacity in NHS Scotland is approximately 13,000. Health boards are taking all necessary steps to repurpose at least 3,000 of these. This has included the suspension of non-urgent elective operations.
The Scottish Government is working to rapidly expand testing capacity in NHS laboratories. This changes daily, but we are on track to increase to 3,500 tests per day by the end of April.
Testing at the moment is only for people who have symptoms, though 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 157,000 people across Scotland in this ‘Group One’.
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. These deliveries have now started.
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.
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:
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: email@example.com
• Social: @ShonaRobisonMSP