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NHS Highland chief makes 'stay away' plea

By Andrew Dixon

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Paul Hawkins.
Paul Hawkins.

NHS Highland's chief executive has made a "stay away" plea to tourists during the coronavirus crisis.

It comes after concerns were raised that people were coming to the region to self-isolate.

Earlier today the Caravan and Motorhome Club stated it would shut all its sites today – including several in the Highlands – in a bid to help contain coronavirus.

Paul Hawkins, chief executive of NHS Highland, said: “As a community we in the Highlands, Argyll and Bute are friendly, welcoming and hospitable to the thousands of visitors we get all year every year. However, we are currently in a situation that has never been experienced before and for the first time we are making a plea for you to stay away.

“We have heard that there are many people using campervans/motorhomes to make their way to the Highlands and Argyll and Bute as a way to self-isolate during this period. Please don’t.

“National advice is quite clear that we, as a nation, need to stay at home, self-isolate and stop all non-essential travel. This includes using our area as a safe haven.

“We have asked our communities in NHS Highland to do everything they can to stay safe. This includes self-isolating, working from home where possible, and limiting their contact with the outside world.

“Our health and social care staff are also doing everything in their power to protect our patients and our local communities to ensure we are ready for what the next few weeks could bring.

“Having the extra burden of numerous visitors to the area is not going to help us or our local communities. Please, for your own safety and for the safety of our community stay at home.”

Related article: Some Highland caravan parks will close today

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