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.
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 have reported that as of 0900 today there are now 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.
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.”
Councillor Douglas Lumsden, Co-Leader of Aberdeen City Council, said:
“It is essential that we continue to adhere to the Scottish Government’s guidance in order that we can control the coronavirus as best we can. It will be challenging for many as we were beginning to enjoy the easing of the lockdown however public safety continues to be paramount. We appreciate the enormous efforts made by everyone to adhere to the lockdown measures previously in place and would remind them that together we can get through this.”
The Scottish Government is also advising people not to travel to Aberdeen while the restrictions are in place.
If people are already in Aberdeen visiting family or on holiday then they do not need to leave, but are asked to follow all the guidance and take extra care when returning home.
The current restrictions will be reviewed every seven days in discussion with local partners. The Scottish Government has not ruled out extending restrictions if necessary to protect public health.