32 cases of coronavirus linked to bar in Aberdeen

There have now been 32 cases of coronavirus linked to an outbreak at a bar in Aberdeen.

NHS Grampian says it has identified 120 close contacts of those involved and has been in touch with all 120, but it remains possible that further cases may be detected.

Dr Emmanuel Okpo, consultant in public health medicine, said: "I know this is a concerning time for people in Grampian. I want to stress again that only people with symptoms of Covid-19 should arrange a test.

"Getting a ‘not-detected’ result when you do not have symptoms does not mean that you are ‘safe’ as the virus can take several days to develop. It also does not mean that you can avoid self-isolation if you are identified as a close contact of a detected case."

Chris Littlejohn, deputy director of public health, said: "I would encourage the general public to stick with the facts of this case. I understand the desire to pinpoint a person or place responsible for this cluster.

"However, it is important to realise that this virus is circulating in the community. Anyone could contract it, and anyone could infect others. We all need to take responsibility for our own behaviour."

Several venues in the city have now chosen to close voluntarily, including Soul Bar, where large crowds of revellers were pictured over the weekend in scenes that drew criticism from Nicola Sturgeon herself.

The Hawthorn Bar has closed its doors for a fortnight after two staff members tested positive for coronavirus.

NHS Grampian says it is aware of these moves, but "cannot comment on business decisions" - although it says businesses that have raised concerns in connection with this cluster have had advice and support.

Meanwhile the first minister says the UK Government will need to step in and support businesses - if they are forced to close down again due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

She was speaking to Original 106 at her daily briefing.

We told Ms Sturgeon about Soul's decision to shut - and asked her what specific support the Scottish Government would be offering to firms if they do have to close, along with their workers.

You can see her answer in the video above.

A Treasury spokesperson said: "We’ve worked tirelessly during this crisis to protect jobs, livelihoods and businesses - acting at scale and at pace to support as many people as possible.

"The furlough scheme was unprecedented and has so far supported the wages of 9.6 million people at a cost of £33.8 billion, and will run for eight months in total. We have also recently announced our £1,000 job retention bonus to ensure we protect as many jobs as possible.

"We continue to support closed sectors through our targeted package of support that includes tax deferrals and VAT cuts, business rates relief, rent moratoriums and loans. And we will continue to work closely with them during this difficult time.

"As the economy re-opens, we are adjusting the support provided to ensure people can get back to work and we can rebuild our economy."

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