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Moray Council ignoring WHO guidelines on Covid-19, says councillors

By Alistair Whitfield

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Three councillors have further criticised Moray Council for not following World Health Organisation guidelines.

The Moray Council annexe building on Elgin High Street.
The Moray Council annexe building on Elgin High Street.

The Moray Alliance Group – which consists of Ryan Edwards, Derek Ross and Walter Wilson – say they have grave worries about the lack of hand sanitisers and disposable paper towels within Moray Council's HQ and the annexe next door.

Although the annexe is currently closed to the public, Moray council staff are working from both buildings.

Cllr Edwards (Heldon and Laich) and cllr Ross (Speydide-Glenlivet) say they have each been spoken to by several staff members with concerns for their wellbeing and that of their colleagues.

A statement from the Moray Alliance Group states: "Many staff are having to return to the building to work as laptops issued at the outbreak have been recalled and the staff have been told they are to work from headquarters.

"In order to observe social distancing the staff toilets cannot have more than one person in there at any given time.

"These contain hand dryers which blow the water from your hands into the air.

"We believe this is unsafe at this time.

"Therefore, we strongly request that disposable paper towels are made available.

"Also, depending on where you enter the building you also have to travel through several doors in order to get these cleansing areas.

"For that reason there should be hand sanitisers available at every entrance/exit to the council buildings.

"We do not believe the actions or attitude to be adequate in regards to keeping our staff safe from the Coronavirus epidemic."

Councillor Ross has now handed over to Moray Council's chief executive Roddy Burns a document from the World Health Organisation.

Printed at the start of April, the document makes the following recommendations:

"One or several hand hygiene stations (either for handwashing with soap and water or for hand rubbing with an alcohol-based hand rub) should be placed in front of the entrance of every public building (including schools and healthcare facilities) or private commercial building, to allow everyone to practice hand hygiene before entering and when leaving it.”

It further states: "The installation, supervision, and regular refilling of the equipment should be the overall responsibility of public health authorities and delegated to building managers. Private sector and civil society initiatives to support the commodities, maintenance, and effective use are welcome.

"The use of public hand hygiene stations should be obligatory before passing the threshold of the entrance to any building and to any means of public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic. Repeated hand hygiene whenever outside private homes can in this way become part of the routine of everyday life in all countries.”

A Moray Council spokesperson stated earlier that the local authority was advising all staff to wash their hands using soap and water.

The spokesperson continued: "Sanitiser is less effective and is only a default where hand washing facilities are not available.

"Staff in offices all have access to these facilities.

"Access points are closed so there is no exposure to the public.

"The limited supplies of sanitiser we could access recently were being prioritised to the NHS and childcare hubs, but hand wipes have always been in place in strategic locations around the council."

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