05 August 2020 18:42
Speaking at her daily breifing at luchtime today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has explained the full details of the situation in Aberdeen that has led to the reinstatement of lockdown conditons. She said: "I want to start immediately today with a very important update on the cluster of cases that we have been dealing with in Aberdeen in recent days. "My comments will undoubtedly spark a lot of questions and so further detail will be provided later today, on the Scottish Government website, but I want to give the headline information direct to you now. "When the Aberdeen cluster was initially reported by NHS Grampian - at the end of last week – there were four identified cases as part of it. "However, I can confirm that – as of now – a total of 54 cases have been confirmed as associated with that cluster – a total of 191 close contacts have already been traced, although we expect that number to rise over the course of today.
"But this high number of cases certainly heightens, considerably heightens our concern that we are dealing with a significant outbreak in Aberdeen that may involve some community transmission. She continued:"Now, the main link identified in this cluster, so far, has been the Hawthorn Bar in Aberdeen city centre. "So when we take all of this information together, we have been led to the conclusion that we must now take further immediate steps on a highly precautionary basis, to prevent further spread and to give the Test and Protect teams the best possible chance of successfully breaking these chains of transmission. "NHS Grampian, Police Scotland and the leaders and Chief Executive of Aberdeen City Council played a full part in that meeting and I'm very grateful to them for their constructive and very helpful contributions. "And I want to assure you that the decisions we agreed this morning andthat I am about to confirm to you now are not being taken lightly.But we are at a stage of this pandemic where extreme caution is necessary and, also in my view, sensible.
"In fact, if you are contacted by Test and Protect anywhere in Scotland, please comply fully with their advice, particularly, in relation to self-isolation. "Now, I know that all of this is deeply, deeply unwelcome news for people in Aberdeen, it's very unwelcome news for all of us, I did not want to be standing here today making these announcements and I'm very sorry that we are in this position. "So our precautionary and careful judgement is that we need to take decisive action now, difficult though that undoubtedly is, in order to try to contain this outbreak and prevent further harm later on. "Acting now, we judge, gives us the time and the space to protect the ability of our young people to return to education. PEOPLE have been advised not to travel to Aberdeen following a "significant outbreak" of coronavirus cases linked to pubs in the city. Lockdown restrictions are being imposed today (Wednesday) in the Aberdeen city area in response to the new cases. Transport Scotland said people will be able to travel home to Shetland from Aberdeen – but for those travelling to Aberdeen in the coming days, only essential travel is permitted. "SNF and Loganair continue to provide lifeline connections as they have done throughout previous lockdown phases to maintain connectivity and operators will seek to inform all those travelling (both northbound and southbound) tonight of the latest Scottish Government guidance on Aberdeen," a Transport Scotland spokesman said. All transport modes have measures in place to protect passengers and staff from Covid-19 and, now more than ever, it is important that all guidance is followed in order to prevent its spread." NorthLink Ferries said on its website that the company would give guidance of how to protect against the virus but essentially it "will be for those travelling to decide if they wish to do so given issued guidance". First minister Nicola Sturgeon said earlier on Wednesday that 54 cases were now associated with the cluster of cases, which was initially linked to the Hawthorn Bar but is now connected to 20 other licensed premises. BREAKING: Some lockdown restrictions have been put on the Aberdeen area once again following the continued growth of a coronavirus cluster linked to pubs. People have been told not to travel to Aberdeen while restrictions have been re-imposed. "The fact that the outbreak is no longer simply associated with one location, combined with the accelerating increase in cases means we cannot rule out community transmission now being the case in Aberdeen." NHS Shetland and Orkney chief executive Michael Dickson said the decision means that only urgent and essential patients will be travelling to Aberdeen for treatment while the new measures are in place. "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's decision to lockdown Aberdeen after a cluster of 54 Covid-positive cases is a stark reminder that we are no-where close to finished with Covid-19," he said. We have well established processes in place to support patient travel and have been working with ferry operators and Loganair to ensure people can move on and off the islands safely. "What this lockdown means is that we will be sending only urgent and essential cases to Aberdeen and that we will need to review any currently planned treatments to ensure they have to go ahead. He said there had been reports of hospitality businesses in Aberdeen adopting a "DIY" approach to contact tracing, as no calls were being made from the central service. He said: "The decision today to impose a further period of lockdown in Aberdeen is the right one in the circumstances, but a bitter blow to the city and its economy. "The overwhelming priority now must be to suppress any community transmission of the virus, so the lockdown of Aberdeen can be ended at the earliest possible opportunity." MSP Jackie Baillie said: "The virus cluster in Aberdeen is a serious cause for concern and the Scottish Government and Aberdeen City Council have made the correct decision to protect the wellbeing of the community by re-imposing certain restrictions. "The containment of the virus is of the highest importance and Scottish Labour will continue to support the efforts of the government to do so while holding it to account for its failings. "The First Minister must explain why John Swinney has been tasked with leading the response to this outbreak while his education brief is in utter disarray. "Scottish Liberal Democrats have been asking for weeks for more detail about how local lockdowns will be enforced and what support will be made available for businesses and employees.