WESTERN Isles health chiefs have urged people to limit contact with others amid a “serious and escalating” Covid-19 outbreak on the Isle of Barra.

There are 27 positive cases linked to the island’s outbreak, while 110 people are currently self-isolating – that represents about a 10th of the population.

The health board’s chief executive Gordon Jamieson called on locals to limit social contact last night as 17 new cases were confirmed.

“This outbreak and the number of people affected – with over 110 people now in self-isolation – represents a significant proportion of the population on Barra and this is an escalating and serious situation,” he said in a video posted to Twitter.

“We must suppress and contain this virus as quickly as possible. Please limit your household contact and take every precaution you can to protect yourself as your community.”

Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles are currently in level 3 coronavirus restrictions, while mainland Scotland faces strict “stay at home” measures.

Yesterday in Scotland a further 61 Covid deaths were registered, while 1860 people were being treated in hospital for the virus.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman explained that 224,840 people have now received their first vaccine dose.

She added that testing for care home staff who do not present symptoms would begin from Monday, after being brought forward from March “given the seriousness of the situation we now face”.

READ MORE: Tighter Covid rules on takeaway and click and collect come in across Scotland

Today tighter coronavirus restrictions come into effect across mainland Scotland. Entering businesses to buy takeaway food and drink has stopped – such premises will now need to operate via a hatch or counter at the door.

Non-essential click and collect services are also now prohibited. Essential services like clothing and footwear stores, homeware stores, key cutting and shoe repair shops, can still offer click and collect but must operate with timeslots.