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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ordered Aberdeen’s bars, cafes and restaurants to close on August 5 and travel restrictions placed on residents due to an outbreak of coronavirus in the city. There have now been 198 confirmed cases linked to the coronavirus outbreak in the city, with 1,032 people contact-traced.
However, NHS Grampian who are tracking potential cases admitted that its team only asked for contact details from the Hawthorn Bar in Aberdeen.
This is despite at least 28 other pubs and restaurants having been publicly linked to the cluster over the last two weeks.
NHS tracers identify close contacts of those with COVID-19 and ask them to self-isolate at home for 14 days and are seen as a vital element of controlling potential outbreaks.
Donald Cameron MSP, Scottish Conservative health spokesperson, told Express.co.uk: “It’s alarming that contact tracing teams are working with the customer list of only one pub when Aberdeen is in lockdown and local people are making sacrifices every day.
“The Scottish Conservatives support the need for pubs to keep contact details to prevent the spread of the virus – but these lists cannot just gather dust when people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake.
“Nicola Sturgeon must step in personally to find out what’s gone wrong and come clean about why these lists are not being utilised.
“For the second day in a row, we’re hearing that the SNP are not being transparent on testing. How can we possibly know that all contacts have been traced, when pub contact lists are left unused? The secrecy must end.”
The Aberdeen Lockdown was expected to be lifted this week but Ms Sturgeon said at First Minister’s Questions that the lockdown in the city would be imposed for another week in consultation with Aberdeen City Council and Police Scotland.
She said: “I know people in Aberdeen, who of course are today dealing with severe weather as well as COVID, will be disappointed with this decision but I want to thank them for complying so well with the measures that we put in place last week.”
The First Minister added there is not yet a need to place extra restrictions on Aberdeenshire county as a whole and stressed: “I want to stress that nobody wants these restrictions to be in place for longer than is necessary.
“They will be reviewed in one week’s time and as soon as we can relax any of them, then we will do.”
Ms Sturgeon also said the number of cases in Aberdeen shows how quickly coronavirus can spread through a small area.
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The First Minister said clusters had also emerged in Glasgow and Orkney in addition to the one in Aberdeen.
A household cluster in Peterhead is also being investigated and has led to the closure of a primary school.
Ms Sturgeon also stressed that provisional figures indicate the upper estimate for the R number – the average number of people infected by each person with COVID-19 – last week could have been as high as 1.3.
In response to the concerns about Test and Trace, a Scottish Government spokesman told Express.co.uk: “Requiring hospitality businesses to keep lists of customers is important in situations where people who are confirmed as positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts cannot readily be identified.
“In the case of the Grampian outbreak the local Test and Protect team has worked incredibly hard and have so far identified 1,032 close contacts.
“The vast majority of those have been contacted with tracing procedures in place for the others.
“This shows how hard and well our Test and Protect teams are working even in relation to a large and complex cluster.
“The decision to follow up with customers of any individual pub, restaurant or other business is for the local Incident Management Team, on the basis of their professional risk assessment.
“The health secretary has confidence in the approach being taken by NHS Grampian’s in-house Test and Protect team – and the measures that we put in place in Aberdeen last week and have now continued for a further seven days are part of the critical work to slow and then stop transmission before it becomes widespread within the community.”
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