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Coronavirus Guidelines from Dr John Locke - 30 March 2020

These are truly strange and unprecedented times and during these times it is important that we come together and listen to those who know best. Dr John Locke is not only a GP but is also NFU Scotland’s Stewartry Branch Chairman. Dr Locke has written a letter to all NFU Scotland members with his expert advice for how farmers and crofters should be going about their business during the Covid-19 pandemic

When looking across a sunny lambing field or ploughing while listening to music the idea of a global Covid-19 pandemic seems like another planet.  However, there is a massive rise coming and the NHS is ramping up their capacity and cancelling all routine work so we must take infection control very seriously. Think of this like Foot and Mouth but affecting humans.

For many it will be a mild illness but may still put you to bed for 3 days and feel exhausted for 2 weeks. For your parents or grandparents it might kill 10 per cent. Some people will be left with serious long-term lung damage. Isolation of ill people and their relatives might decimate your workforce.

Please observe the government advice around hygiene and isolation.  It is exactly the same as you would do in the parlour or in a pneumonia outbreak.

On family farms, keep to your own house. You may have to have supplies kept in another location to get access.

Stay two metres apart and do not allow anyone to visit unless essential for work or safety issues. Mending the dishwasher can wait!   It seems rude but it will save lives. This is because some will be infectious with mild symptoms.

Wash your hands frequently if you are working with others or using items they have touched, especially when going home. Try not to touch your face.

Delivery drivers should not have direct contact. Arrange a drop-off point for frequent deliveries. Get them to sign the pad or sheet.  Do not use their pen. Take a photo of goods as proof of delivery if necessary.

Do not allow anyone in who is not essential for work or safety issues. Keep to the same vehicle, wipe down control levers, do not travel in the same cab if possible and contractors should stay in or close to their tractor. No wandering around chatting to others.

If you are ill -fever or harsh cough- then you must isolate. This is difficult at a busy time but on average you will infect another 3 people by contacting others. There are financial impacts too which make decisions to stay at home harder which the government is trying to address.

Those of you who have health problems, are over 70 or have had treatment reducing your immunity should be extra careful to reduce contacts.

Keep yourself safer than ever- the NHS does not want to spend time dealing with careless accidents or self-inflicted illnesses. There may not be an intensive care bed to treat you after falling off a ladder.

There is lots of advice at NHS Inform or you can call NHS24 on 111 to be put through to a local Hub for further assessment. GP clinics are open for advice on all the usual conditions but mainly by phone.

Sorry to be a bit scary but we are approaching a serious situation in the next 3 weeks.

Finally, wave to your neighbour, phone them if you know they work alone and check that vulnerable folk are getting supplies.

Stay clean.

Stay apart.

Stay well.

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Michael Coutts

55 days ago

Excellent article John
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