Are Remote Islands Insulated from Coronavirus? | The Institute for Creation Research
Are Remote Islands Insulated from Coronavirus?
Countries all over the world are now juggling public health risks along with economic collapse risks. Is taking temporary refuge on a remote island a good strategy? Maybe. But don’t count on that strategy being bulletproof in the remote Hebrides or Orkney Islands, because health officials report coronavirus infections even on those remote islands.1

In the complicated logistics of today’s world of international travel, with its many inextricably intertwined moving parts (especially globe-trotting humans), our modern-day interconnectedness is exhibited again and again.2,3

A few days ago, this reality was illustrated by the first coronavirus case being confirmed within the group of islands immediately north of Scotland, the Orkney Islands, historically called (in combination with the farther-north Shetland Islands) the Northern Isles.

NHS [national Health Service] Orkney's chief executive Gerry O' Brien said confirming the virus, known as Covid-19, was in the islands was "inevitable", but should not cause "additional alarm or distress to anyone … the current situation is causing anxiety across Orkney, but we want to reassure people that we have taken and continue to take steps to protect both patients and staff from any unnecessary exposure to Covid-19."1

Likewise, two cases were recently recognized in Lewis, within the Hebrides, the peaceful cluster of islands just west of Scotland, historically called the Western Isles.

NHS [National Health Service] Western Isles said it was "disappointed" to confirm the presence of the virus in the isles and it has begun an investigation into the route of infection. Along with local authority Comhairle nan Eilean Siar [Scottish Gaelic for “Council of the Western Isles”], it urged people to follow government guidance on social distancing and leaving home only when "absolutely essential."1

Of course, this was disappointing to local residents of those two archipelagos, because many hoped that those islands’ remoteness would insulate them (pardon the pun) from the spread of the coronavirus contagion.

But our world is enormously interconnected, even with “social distancing.” We must be realistic about that, both biologically and economically.3

Meanwhile, transportation options are disarranged or discontinued due to voluntary or involuntary rescheduling of travel routines.

In recent weeks, measures have been taken to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus to the Western Isles. Ferry services have been reduced and operator Caledonian MacBrayne asked that only islanders used them. An assessment centre has also been set up in a school and leisure complex in Barra, in the south of the island chain, because of the distance to reach hospital services.1

Obviously this disrupts traditional tourist commerce, such as the need for ferrying from Oban (on Scotland’s mainland) to the Hebrides Islands—which include Mull, Iona, and Staffa4—indispensable services provided by Caledonian MacBrayne ferries.

How quickly our life situations and options change!5 Just last summer, as part of a Christian history touring adventure (Landmark Events), my family visited those Hebridean islands. We were carried to and fro by Caledonian MacBrayne ferries, from Oban to Mull, and from there to Iona (former hub of Celtic Christianity) and later to tiny Staffa (a rugged steep-cliffed isle famous for Atlantic Puffins and Fingal’s Cave).4

As a birdwatching creationist, I enjoyed observing nesting puffins, within feet of my feet, and I thank God for the privilege of that time there.6 Yet, now even the serene Hebrides are visited by coronavirus. How sad!

Yes, our world is fallen, “groaning,” so it uncomfortably yet trustingly awaits—as we do—the restorative return of our Redeemer-King.7

References
1. Staff Writer. Coronavirus: Covid-19 confirmed in Western Isles and Orkney. BBC News Scotland. Posted on bbc.com March 31, 2020, accessed April 7, 2020.
2. Johnson, J. J. S. 2020. When Travel is Restricted, Be Honest and Trust God. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org April 4, 2020, accessed April 7, 2020.
3. 1 Corinthians 12:26; Psalm 102:18.
4. Caldwell, D. 2018. Mull and Iona: A Historical Guide. Edinburgh, U.K.: Birlinn Limited, xxii-xxx, 15-113, 141-144, 206, 221.
5. Proverbs 27:1; James 4:13-15.
6. Kightley, C., S. Madge, and D. Nurney. 1998. Pocket Guide to the Birds of Britain of Britain and North-west Europe. London, UK: Yale University Press, 157.
7. Romans 8:18-23; Revelation 22:20b.

*Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.
The Latest
NEWS
No Evidence T. rex Hatchlings Had Feathers
The recent discovery of a tiny tyrannosaur jaw bone fragment and a claw has some scientists again pushing dinosaurs as birds.1 But is there...

NEWS
Inside March 2021 Acts & Facts
Why does ICR uphold the clarity of Scripture? How do we know that canyons were formed by the Genesis Flood? How do fossilized fish confirm biblical...

DAYS OF PRAISE DEVOTIONALS
Spring 2021
...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Human Hands
You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with ICR’s special Creation Kids learning...

ACTS & FACTS
Dross and Dilution
The first of seven great signs of Jesus’ deity recorded in John’s gospel is the wedding in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11). By the time Jesus...

APOLOGETICS
Do the Unpersuaded Have Enough Proof?
At a local Bible conference, a respected seminary professor unintentionally contradicted the apostle Paul. During the Q&A session, he opined that...

ACTS & FACTS
Gunnison's Black Canyon: The Flood Solves Mysterious Missing...
Brian Thomas, Ph.D., and Tim Clarey, Ph.D. The Gunnison River winds westward from the Colorado Rocky Mountains through dry and dramatic landscapes....

ACTS & FACTS
Do We See Complex Design in Mosquito Eggs?
Mosquitoes hatch from tiny eggs and spend a few days filter-feeding on things like bacteria, pollen, and algae. They molt three times as they grow,...

ACTS & FACTS
A Texas-Size Spider Mystery
The delightfully creepy spider belongs to a class called Arachnida—which is distinct from the “bug” class Insecta. Not surprisingly,...

ACTS & FACTS
The Fossils Still Say No: The Fins-to-Feet Transition
One of the alleged greatest transformations in vertebrate evolution is said to be the emergence of creatures that traded fins for feet and transitioned...