Covid in Scotland: Prince William praises isles staff in call with nurse

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image copyrightNHS Western Isles
image captionBarra charge nurse Frances MacNeil spoke with Prince William

Prince William has thanked NHS Western Isles' staff for their efforts during the Covid pandemic.

William, known as the Earl of Strathearn in Scotland, praised their work in a phone call with Frances MacNeil, a charge nurse on Barra.

Barra and neighbouring Vatersay have been in lockdown since 20 January following a serious Covid outbreak, which has since been declared over.

Ms MacNeil has been involved in the Western Isles' vaccination programme.

She said: "Prince William was very knowledgeable about the vaccination programme and the geography of the islands.

"He asked about the logistics of getting the vaccine to the islands and how we were managing.

"We spoke a little about the challenges of unpredictable weather and reaching people in their own homes."

image copyrightKensington Palace
image captionPrince William praised the efforts of island health care workers in the call

Ms MacNeil added: "He commented that, of course, so many people had been unable to leave their homes during the past year because of the pandemic."

Prince William has been involved in a series of phone calls and online meetings with health care staff, charity workers and military personnel since the start of the pandemic.

Barra and Vatersay moved from level three to level four restrictions after 40 positive tests on Barra.

With about 140 people self-isolating at the time, the outbreak had affected as much as 16% of the population of Barra.

Islanders had observed a voluntary lockdown on Barra as part of the community's efforts to suppress the virus.

About a week after Barra and Vatersay entered level four, the whole of the Western Isles went into lockdown after a number of new outbreaks, including at the isles' largest hospital - Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, Lewis.

NHS Western Isles said it had been 14 days since the last positive case in the Barra outbreak.