Those most at risk of being seriously ill if they get a coronavirus have started receiving essential supplies at home.
Those who protect have started to receive letters from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, outlining their support and explaining how they can stay safe.
Among the support services offered is an SMS service to help organize the delivery of medicines and food.
Those who do not have access to mobile phones can register with local councils.
Those who received correspondence this week and signed up for text service were given the opportunity to begin weekly delivery of essential foods, including soup, pasta, rice, fruits and vegetables, tea and coffee, and cookies, as well as toiletries.
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Other measures that are being put in place include the delivery of specialized drugs – including chemotherapy drugs – delivered through local health boards, intensifying drug deliveries to community pharmacies and supermarkets ensuring that slots are available. Priority deliveries are given to the richest clinical risk.
Initial estimates of the number of people involved were 150,000 to 200,000. However, it is now believed that the number of eligible people could be around 120,000.
Deliveries, led by Brakes and Bidfood, started out on Friday.
“Register immediately” if you receive a letter
Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney said the new services were for people with no support structures around them to help them.
He said it included “people with specific forms of cancer, severe respiratory problems, some rare diseases, organ transplant recipients, people on immunosuppression and pregnant women with congenital heart disease.”
He added, “Many people will have the support of friends and family, but I encourage everyone who receives a letter and needs help to sign up immediately for the service – this will ensure you have an adequate supply in food and essentials in these difficult times.
“It is vitally important that those most at clinical risk are protected as much as possible, and our advice accompanying this text service will help protect people from the harmful effects of the virus, including interruption of care from health and social services and key services. “
Swinney also said local services “must prioritize those who need it most.” He said that by doing this, Scotland would protect them, which in turn “would reduce the burden on the NHS and save lives.”
“By continuing to work together, we can all play our part in ensuring everyone’s safety,” he added.