For a hundred years Tiree has welcomed visitors and won worldwide fame for its sunshine, its beaches and its welcome. The season to visit the island is upon us and we would normally expect to see over 20,000 people before the end of the year.
However, the current coronavirus epidemic is a once-in-a-century event. The virus is already circulating on the island. We know from past experience that epidemics have a particularly intense effect on our small, isolated community, which in winter numbers just 650 and contains a high number of elderly people. We need your help to get through the next few months as safely as we can.
The doctors and emergency services on Tiree are now at full stretch and working in very difficult circumstances. An increased workload from a large number of visitors is going to increase the strain.
We are trying to keep contact between people down to a bare minimum. Almost all meetings, church services and group activities have been cancelled. We are encouraging people to shop responsibly: that means a single person shopping just once a week with as little social contact inside the shop as possible. Many vulnerable and elderly islanders have retreated into their homes, and, often, would like to keep visitors to a minimum.
We would ask you to think carefully about your visit to Tiree at the moment. It is not that we are worried about you bringing coronavirus to the island. There is plenty here already. But we need to be able to work without distraction on the challenges we face: treating people and reducing the penetration of the disease into the community.
When coronavirus is all over and we are able to party again, normal service will be resumed!
We are grateful for all your help and support.
Drs Mike McIver, Lindsay Kerr, Ali Ambrose, Andrew Clark, with Dr John Holliday and Tiree Community Council 20/03/2020