Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil is reiterating his urgent call for Covid-19 testing to be available in the Western Isles for offshore workers prior to their journey to work.

Concerned oil workers from the islands have contacted Mr MacNeil regarding the situation which means they are being forced to travel to a Tier 4 area to be tested for Covid-19 before going on to offshore platforms.

Mr MacNeil has now written again to Health Secretary Jean Freeman to stress the need for local testing of workers.

He said: “Again I’ve had the spectre of oil workers coming to me regarding this situation.

“It is worse now as they are having to leave the Tier 1 Hebrides to go to what will be Tier 4 areas for testing to go off on oil rigs on January 3 or 4, having to leave for testing on Hogmanay.

“Given the alarm that the Government has raised about the new strain of Covid, surely this means that the Government has to react to minimise the risk that people have of coming into contact with it.

“This is particularly so when we know we have capacity to test in the Hebrides with NHS testing.

“It would seem sensible to keep people out of harm’s way. Going to places where Covid is far more prevalent to get testing seems bizarrely daft.

“Testing in the islands would be far a safer and more sensible approach for people going away.

“I’ve written to Jeanne Freeman on this today as well as on the 23rd of November. I haven’t had a response yet but I am hoping for a quick response this time given the Government’s concern about the new strain of Covid.”