A sharp spike in positive confirmed cases of Covid19 in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire prompted the Scottish Government today, 5th of August, to reimpose travel and other restrictions on the area.
Last Friday, 31st of July, the first positive case linked to a bar in Aberdeen was reported. Those numbers have since spiralled upwards. Scotland’s Test and Protect scheme has identified 191 contacts so far with 54 cases in this cluster alone. In Scotland as a whole there were 64 new confirmed cases.
Pubs and hospitality services had only just reopened in Scotland. Additional measures had been put in place in premises and people were being encouraged by the UK Government with the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme. The money off discount applied to participating businesses such as:
- public houses that serve food
- hotel restaurants
- restaurants and cafes within tourist attractions, holiday sites and leisure facilities
- dining rooms within members’ clubs
- workplace and school canteens
It did not apply to take away food or mobile food vans.
The new restrictions in Aberdeen mean that although take away food businesses can still remain open, all bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs have to close. Hotels will only be able to keep restaurants open for guests.
For travel, Nicola Sturgeon , FM of Scotland stated:
“Our travel guidance to people in Aberdeen, from today, is that you should no longer travel more than five miles for leisure or recreational purposes.
“You may continue to travel for work or education, but we advise against other travel.
“We are also advising people who are not in Aberdeen, not to travel to Aberdeen.
“If you are already in Aberdeen, visiting family or on holiday, you can stay, but please follow all of the guidance while you are there and take extra care when you return home.”
This again is a very stark reminder of how quickly this deadly virus can spread and given Orkney’s close connections with Aberdeen, how easily it could be transmitted to the islands.
Latest statement from Northlink Ferries
Local restrictions introduced in Aberdeen
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on 5th August 2020 made a statement about local restrictions in Aberdeen following new COVID-19 cases in the community. NorthLink are providing a lifeline connection and will inform those travelling of the issued Scottish Government guidance on local Aberdeen restrictions. These are:
- People should not travel more than five miles for leisure purposes.
- Travelling for work or education is permitted, but other travel is not advised.
- Do not travel to Aberdeen.
- Do not go into each others’ houses (with the exception of extended household groups).
- All indoor and outdoor hospitality in the city to close.
As such it will be for those travelling to decide if they wish to do so given issued guidance. It is important that all guidance to protect passengers and staff from COVID-19 is followed in order to prevent its spread.
Finally, sailings are open to and from Orkney and Shetland for all travellers, however, to allow physical distancing on board there will be limits to the numbers that can sail, so passengers must book ahead online or by phone to avoid disappointment. Many on board services have been suspended and passengers must disembark the vessel upon arrival.
Covid related deaths and positive cases
The weekly report from the National Records of Scotland, published 5th of August, recorded the second lowest weekly total for deaths involving COVID-19 ( 7 ) since the first death was recorded in early March. These stats are correct up to the 2nd of August.
Whilst this indicates the significant progress Scotland has made limiting the spread of Covid 19 the figures for new confirmed cases this week is troubling.
It confirms the ease with which this deadly highly infectious virus can spread.
There will be more updated information published later today and tomorrow.
The restrictions reimposed in Aberdeen will be reviewed in 7 days time and depending on the scientific advice then a decision will be made whether to continue with them or not.
Nicola Sturgeon said:
” 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.
“But this outbreak is reminding us just how highly infectious COVID is. 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.”
Reporter: Fiona Grahame