People urged to continue following restrictions

Councillor Kieron Green, chairman of the IJB, thanked residents but urged them to continue adhering to restrictions.

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The chair of Argyll and Bute’s health board has thanked residents for keeping Covid-19 numbers low – but it has been warned that restrictions must continue to be observed.

Councillor Kieron Green extended thanks to residents of Argyll and Bute for helping to ensure it has continued to have low case numbers.

But Jean Boardman, non-executive director with NHS Highland, asked whether communication will go out asking that even after receiving the vaccine, people continue to observe the rules.

The discussion took place at a recent meeting of the area’s health and social care partnership’s (HSCP) integration joint board (IJB), of which Councillor Green is chair.

He said: ‘Thanks to the population of Argyll and Bute for the fact that we have relatively low levels of infection, which is not down to chance. There are a number of good reasons for it.

‘There has been a bit of work done on what restrictions are necessary, but Argyll and Bute has probably had higher level restrictions than other areas.

‘That has now fed through to us having lower levels of infection because people, by and large, have complied, so a degree of thanks has to go out.

‘People have made sacrifices in terms of their routines and the lower infection levels are of significant benefit to people working hard to deliver services here. The pressure on staff is high enough.

‘Following restrictions obviously has to continue.’

The Covid-related discussion at the meeting opened with Dr Nicola Schinaia speaking to a report on the latest situation and case numbers.

Ms Boardman then asked: ‘Are there plans, locally and nationally, to highlight to people that they cannot relax observation of rules once they receive the vaccine?

‘We are hearing reports that people mistakenly think that they no longer need to observe the rules [once they have been vaccinated].’

Dr Schinaia responded: ‘Yes, there are. I will go back and talk to the communications team for this to be a high level message.’

Tim Allison, director of public health and policy at NHS Highland, added: ‘We are looking at that issue and I have just done a newspaper column which covers the very issue of communication and abiding by restrictions.’