Highlands & Islands

Coronavirus: People urged not to visit Highlands to flee virus

Camper vans in the Highlands
Image caption Campervans pictured in the Highlands on Saturday

People have been urged to stop travelling to the Highlands in a bid to avoid the coronavirus.

It follows reports of people with second homes or those with campervans travelling to the area in recent days.

The issue has prompted Scotland's finance secretary, who is also a Highlands MSP, to tell people to stay away.

Kate Forbes said people should not make the Highlands their "means of self-isolation".

'Escaping the cities'

To date there have been 373 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Scotland, only eight of them have been in the Highlands.

In a tweet posted on Friday evening, Ms Forbes, who represents Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: "If you live elsewhere, please don't use the Highlands as your means of self-isolation. People live here who are trying to follow government guidance and the continuing flow of campervans and other traffic who appear to be escaping the cities is not helping."

Her intervention comes as the first minister confirmed compulsory closures of restaurants, cafes, pubs, gyms and cinemas across Scotland.

But Nicola Sturgeon said the crisis would pass if people followed health advice and looked out for each other.

Ms Sturgeon also warned that the number of Covid-19 cases was "set to rise sharply".

She urged people to follow social distancing advice to save lives and reduce pressure on the NHS.

In the Western Isles, where there have been no confirmed cases of the virus so far, locals from Barra and Vatersay also urged people not to travel there to avoid the virus.

They described the isles as "closed".

A social media post said: "Don't travel here, don't put unnecessary strain on our medical staff and limited resources.

"We will open again and be delighted to see you. But in the meantime we are looking after our community, the thing that makes us so special."

Coronavirus in Scotland

Health boardPositive cases
Ayrshire and Arran21
Borders10
Dumfries and Galloway13
Fife13
Forth Valley27
Grampian20
Greater Glasgow and Clyde110
Highland8
Lanarkshire49
Lothian44
Shetland24
Tayside34
Source: Scottish government