The Scottish Government has reimposed lockdown restrictions on Aberdeen after a spike in new coronavirus cases.
“Following an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Aberdeen, local restrictions on travel, indoor gatherings between households and the closure of indoor and outdoor hospitality will be introduced in the Aberdeen City local authority area,” said the Scottish Government.
“Taking effect from 5pm on Wednesday 5 August, bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs will be required by law to close.
“Hotel restaurants can remain open to provide food for existing guests, and takeaway services can continue.
“People in Aberdeen City are asked not to meet other households indoors or travel more than five miles for leisure or recreational purposes.
“People can continue to travel for work, or education purposes. Visiting in hospitals and care homes will return to essential visits only.”
The restrictions come as NHS Grampian reported that as of 9am on Wednesday there were 54 positive cases of COVID-19 “in the cluster associated with the Hawthorn Bar in Aberdeen.”
A total of 191 close contacts have been traced through Test & Protect.
“More than 20 licensed premises have now been identified as being linked to people who have subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 and the outbreak is linked to the night time economy,” added the Scottish Government.
“This morning, the First Minister chaired a meeting of SGORR (the Scottish Government’s resilience committee) with Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian and Police Scotland to consider the response to the situation.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “These decisions have not been taken lightly.
“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.
“We are at a stage of this pandemic where extreme caution is still necessary.
“Acting now gives us the time and the space to protect the ability of our young people to return to full time education.
“I would ask people who attended any of the locations named to be extra vigilant, to follow all guidance and to isolate and book a test if they have any symptoms.
“And I want to emphasise, that getting a test – and even getting a negative result – is not a substitute for self-isolating.
“So if you have symptoms, or if you are contacted by our Test and Protect team and told to do so, you will need to self-isolate.”
Dr Emmanuel Okpo, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, NHS Grampian, said: “I know people in the city will be concerned by this news.
“I want to stress that our health protection and Test & Protect teams are working extremely hard to speak to all the detected cases and identify their close contacts.
“We are also working closely with our local partners and are grateful for their support.
“My message to everyone is one of vigilance and if you are suffering from symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, please arrange a test.”
Councillor Jenny Laing, Co-Leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “It is unfortunate that just as we were returning to a degree normality this outbreak has happened, but the safety of our citizens remains our first priority.
“We must continue to adhere to the Scottish Government’s guidance to ensure the safety of everyone.
“Aberdeen City Council will continue to work in partnership with Scottish Government, NHS Grampian and Police Scotland to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 in the city and surrounding areas.”