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Tougher ferry travel restrictions to be brought in by Scottish Government to protect islanders from Covid-19 coronavirus; new controls will affect CalMac's Ullapool-Stornoway crossing among others


By Philip Murray


The MV Loch Seaforth at Ullapool.
The MV Loch Seaforth at Ullapool.

STRONGER travel restrictions have been imposed on ferry services in Scotland, amid growing coronavirus concerns.

Michael Matheson – the cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity – this afternoon announced stricter controls to ensure that non-essential travellers are not allowed to sail.

The move comes amid reports of people flocking to the Highlands to escape coronavirus hot spots elsewhere in the British Isles.

As of today, there are still no confirmed cases of Covid-19 anywhere in the Outer Hebrides, and islanders are worried that the arrival of the virus could be disastrous for the relatively small health service provision in the area.

The tighter restrictions affect the Ullapool to Stornoway service, among others.

"With immediate effect ferry companies will no longer take non-essential travellers," said Mr Matheson.

"From now on ferries will be for those who live on our islands, who have an essential need to travel to or from the mainland and for essential supplies or business.Nothing else.

"Those who do not normally live on the islands and have travelled there in the last few days will be able to leave to reduce pressure."

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