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South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine, has asked the First Minister if some green spaces can be reserved for shielded people for certain hours of the day. This would enable the most vulnerable to get out for exercise and enjoy the fine weather safely.

The SNP MSP was speaking at First Ministers‘ Questions at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday after she’d been approached by her constituent from Eastriggs, Kaz Jack, whose shielded daughter, Hannah, 15, is immune suppressed. All shielded people are advised not to go out at all – even for exercise and so both are stuck in the house.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine said,

“Kaz and Hannah contacted me to ask if there’s any way that some outdoor spaces can be reserved – at least for a limited time – for those who are most at risk of serious complications from coronavirus.

“Hannah is only 15 but has been unable to get outside because she has a suppressed immune system. Even moderately busy outdoor spaces are considered too much of a risk.

“And those without a garden particularly suffer as they are unable to get any fresh air or sunshine, both of which have health benefits.

“Reserving some areas of parks or other green spaces for specific hours of the day would mean high-risk people like Hannah can go for a run or bike ride – and I’m sure her mum would welcome the opportunity to get some exercise too.

“The First Minister has assured me that the Health Secretary will give this proposal serious consideration and get back to me in due course.

“In the meantime she has hinted that access to outdoor spaces for everyone could soon be increased from the current level of just once a day for an hour. With the warmer weather approaching I’m sure this will be welcome news for all of us.”