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New Covid cases linked to north-west of England

A TOTAL of nine new cases of Covid-19 have been identified in Dumfries and Galloway since Monday, all in the Gretna and Annan areas, and with links to the north-west of England. National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch told the Scottish Government daily Press conference of the connection to England. He added that a cross-border incident management team had been put in place to trace contacts of those involved. The NHS in Dumfries and Galloway said: "Each person is currently self-isolating, and work continues to take place through the local Test and Protect system to identify their recent contacts and to make any necessary testing arrangements in a bid to limit any further exposure. We are monitoring this very closely and will provide further updates as the situation develops. "We will be making the mobile testing unit available for any members of the public experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 to access testing. Further information on the date and location of the mobile unit will be issued shortly. "We have been very fortunate to have had a relatively small number of coronavirus cases in Dumfries and Galloway over recent weeks, but these new cases highlight the importance of continuing to follow Scottish Government guidance and continued vigilance for symptoms of coronavirus which are: Increased temperature Continuous cough Change to or loss of sense of taste and smell "Anyone experiencing these symptoms should visit the website www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested/ or telephone 0800 028 2816." Valerie White, Interim Director of Public Health, said “These new cases are a clear reminder of the challenges we face in learning to live with Covid-19. “As we move out of lockdown we are very likely to see areas of localised outbreak. “Our Test and Protect system is designed to identify cases and their contacts and provide advice and support to individuals in relation to self isolating for the required period. That is why everyone must continue to stay alert, get a test if they have symptoms, and self isolate. “In addition, we must all continue to follow the national guidance in Scotland which includes directions around physical distancing, and maintaining good hygiene including regular hand washing and avoiding touching the face. “We must be really clear this is a highly infectious illness and it is not an individual's fault that they contract this disease. It can and it does affect anyone. “Together our actions have likely helped save hundreds of lives within the region, and we would very much encourage them to continue.” The Scottish Government now puts the total number of confirmed cases in Dumfries and Galloway at 291. The new cases prompter South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth to warned people to "stay vigilant". Mr Smyth said that before these new cases, there had not been any increase in Dumfries and Galloway since 22 June. Mr Smyth said: “This is further proof that this terrible virus is still out there, and it is more important than ever that people remain vigilant. “This means social distancing by keeping two metres away from others where possible, maintaining high levels of hand hygiene and wearing face coverings on public transport or in an enclosed space. It is also extremely important that if anyone starts showing symptoms of Covid-19, that they self-isolate immediately and book a test as soon as possible. “We are not out of the woods yet and it is only by adhering to guidelines that we can ensure that new cases are kept to a minimum. “First and foremost, people need to act responsibly, use common sense and remember that this pandemic has killed many people in our region and ultimately saving lives is the most important consideration in everything we do. “These new cases appear to be a specific, localised cluster and I have no doubt there will be similar cases in the months ahead. The importance of NHS Dumfries and Galloway and Cumbria working together to fully track and trace these cases and ask those who have come into contact with those with COVID-19 to self-isolate whatever side of the border those contacts have happened, cannot be overstated. A successful test and trace system is vital to keep such localised outbreaks to a minimum. “We need to focus on that work instead of the bickering between the Scottish and UK Government over so-called border controls and quarantining people moving between Scotland and England and vice versa, which is a complete distraction.” Emma Harper said: “I have been contacted by constituents across Dumfries and Galloway who are concerned about the identification of a small cluster of Covid-19 cases across the region, and about the potential for this number to increase - particularly as we approach the resumption of the tourism season. “I understand these concerns, and I am confident in the assurances provided by the First Minister, National Clinical Director for Scotland and by NHS Dumfries and Galloway, that they are doing all they can to implement the Test and Protect Strategy which is about tracking, tracing and isolating people in order to suppress further spread of the coronavirus. “I am also working closely with Scottish Government colleagues, South Scotland Enterprise and tourism businesses the length and breadth of our region to make sure appropriate measures are in place to ensure that people visiting our region – are welcome – and that we help visitors understand that Scotland is taking a different approach to easing the lockdown restrictions compared to other parts of the UK. “We must ensure that visitors are welcome and that people wishing to come and enjoy our beautiful region know that public health remains the first priority." She added: “I would appeal to opposition politicians not to play politics with public health. This is extremely important. Everyone must support the public health response as this virus has not gone away. The approach of the Scottish Government is working.” For more on the statistics and how they are compiled, see: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-daily-data-for-scotland/

<< back Published: 01 Jul 2020, 15:07

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