Tourists are being asked not to use Scotland's islands and rural areas as a 'safe haven' during the coronavirus pandemic.

MSPs and tourist board chiefs have urged anyone planning to visit some of Scotland's most remote locations to stay away while they prioritise the health and wellbeing of their residents.

People have been told to self-isolate for seven days if they are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, which includes a cough, fever, and shortness of breath.

The disease has so far infected over 300 Scots, however, council areas including Highland and Western Isles have recorded the lowest number of cases, with six and zero respectively.

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Shetland currently has 24 positive cases.

Islands including Barra and Arran are just some of the tourist hotspots that have issued a 'do not visit' plea while they focus their resources on their residents, many of whom are elderly.

A Facebook post from the Isle of Arran's main tourist board, VisitArran, reads: "After considering all options, many of our businesses have taken the difficult and emotional decision to close and take a pause during the current situation.

"This is not a decision that has been taken lightly, but the priority for Arran as an island is to look after the health and wellbeing of our island residents first and foremost.

"Our skilled health and social care team already work under pressure with limited resources to support critical and essential services on the island.

"To this end, and in accordance with national guidelines, we are sure you can understand that we are not encouraging visitors to Arran at present. It would be irresponsible of VisitArran to be promoting our island for any non-essential travel."

The post reassured visitors that they would be greeted with a 'warm welcome' once the situation is over, and asked that in the meantime, everyone takes care of their friends and family.

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It added: "We have great community spirit on our island, and we will all pull together to help the most vulnerable in our community, and to support each other."

Their sentiment was echoed by the tourist board on Barra, who tweeted on Friday: "Don’t travel here, don’t put unnecessary strain on our medical staff and limited resources.

"We will open again and be delighted to see you.

"But in the meantime, we are looking after our community, the thing that makes us so special."

Kate Forbes MSP tweeted on Friday: "If you live elsewhere, please don’t use the Highlands as your means of self-isolation.

"People live here who are trying to follow government guidance and the continuing flow of campervans and other traffic who appear to be escaping the cities is not helping."