An RAF A400M Atlas aircraft was tasked to fly a critically ill patient from the Shetland Islands to intensive care in Aberdeen.

During a press conference Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, said:

“We’ve had to call on military help to transport a patient from one of Scotland’s islands for treatment.”

Earlier today the Scottish Government confirmed that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Shetland remained at 24, while the number of Scottish cases has now risen to 416.

The ongoing global Coronavirus pandemic spread to the United Kingdom in January 2020. Transmission within the UK was confirmed in February, leading to an epidemic with a rapid increase in cases in March. As of the 22nd of March, after testing 72,818 people, there have been 5,683 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK and 281 people with confirmed infection have died.

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Well done RAF. Better Together. Nicola Sturgeon couldn’t bring her self to say “We had to call on our Royal Air Force for help” She just couldn’t bring herself to praise anything British. It had to be some bland generic “The Military”. And please don’t tell me I am reading to much into it.
Cheers from Durban

Daniele Mandelli

That is exactly how I read it too geoff.


Thanks Daniele. Locked down in Durban. Scary stuff. Stay well!

Daniele Mandelli

And you geoff. I cannot lock down, I have to work. Wife is though, she has asthma and scared.


From Thursday Midnight we are supposedly to be partly confined to home. I run my own business so need to keep an eye on our office and workshop. I have two of our guys staying on site. Crime is very high in SA. Best wishes to your wife Daniele. I am fit but over 70 so in same boat as her. If she is strict in isolation she will be fine. My wife is keeping me safe with a whole raft of precautions and medicines and making me wear a funny home made mask.

Daniele Mandelli

Thank you geoff. She will only go in the garden or for a walk round the street when there are no people around. So she is isolated, the concern is me, as I will shop and still have to work. My job is an isolated one insofar as I only briefly come into contact with others during shift changeover, but after share the same space they used. I cannot know if they take this seriously, so now live at work in gloves!!

Daniele Mandelli

Oh and my mask is a cycling scarf! Not ideal but all we have.


Dreadful though this outbreak is, one of its effects may be that many Scots realise ‘better together’ is true.

Toni Ferraro

Bang on Geoff


Thanks Toni


How in the hell did it get there? If anywhere was ‘Safe,’ then it must be up there. One day soon, the people of the UK are going to understand the full dangers this virus, if it continues to (in part) fail to abide by Government guidelines. Good work RAF as always.


Err, it is a pretty important centre for the offshore industry and will have numerous movements of workers from across the globe.
By the way, how much did this patient weigh that they needed a 38 ton airlift capacity? 🙂


It’s possible that there was an Atlas already on the ground at either Lossiemouth or Kinloss and was scheduled to fly south anyway. Well done the ROYAL AIR FORCE!


That’s what I was thinking, but then I realised that lots of infected English are running for the highlands to try be safe not knowing they are spreading it! But shetlands not exactly cut off like other islands it has mass tourism and lots of workers in oil so I’m not surprised.

Rob Collinson

What a great looking plane!!!

RAF showing proudly, but it appears a singular lack of the RAF rondel?


It’s obscured behind the outboard engine from this angle, but I agree the Atlas is a beautiful aircraft considering its role on the less glamorous end.

Alan Reid

That signature combat take-off and wing-over of the Atlas is a thing to behold …….

Sceptical Richard

I see it’s one of the aircraft fitted with DIRCM. Thought that was just a theatre entry standard fit. Must be conducting trials, or just about to go out to theatre, or just returned. Perhaps they’re going to zap the virus with laser energy! Great aircraft indeed. Very proud to have been person leading the introduction of the type into RAF service.


isn’t a 80 ton transport plane overkill/wasteful to transport 1 patient?,


Depends what was quickly available and how long the patient could wait.


BP has stopped staging through Sumburgh to the northern fields because of the high infection rate in Shetland, flights are now direct from Aberdeen. The patient flown out by Atlas was critically ill and would have needed stretcher accommodation and ventilator, difficult to get in a commercial airliner.

If you are interested in Nicola Sturgeon’s speeches, then have a look at Janey Godley’s voiceover.