The First Minister has confirmed she would not rule out a further extension of lockdown measures in Aberdeen.
Nicola Sturgeon said she would not “pre-empt” the decision that will be reached on Wednesday but added she “won’t rule out the possibility” of extending the restrictions for a further seven days.
She added: “We won’t keep them in place longer than we deem is necessary because I don’t want any part of the country to be living under these kind of restrictions.
“But having done it we need to make sure we do it long enough to get the cluster and the outbreak under control so I can’t rule out, and won’t rule out, the possibility we may have to extend for a further seven days when we get to Wednesday.”
The First Minister also used her daily briefing on Monday to confirm a total of 231 cases has been detected in the NHS Grampian area since July 26, with 157 of those linked in “some way” to the Aberdeen cluster.
She further revealed that 852 contacts have been identified in relation to the cluster but added this might not equate to 852 people, as some “overlap” may exist.
It comes as a total of 29 positive cases was recorded across Scotland in the last 24 hours, with 18 of these in the Grampian health board area.
The First Minister said the view of the incident management team is that there is “no need” at this stage to extend the restrictions into Aberdeenshire.
Interim chief medical officer Gregor Smith also confirmed that, at this point in time, the incident management team does not believe there is evidence of sustained community transmission in either Aberdeen city or in the wider Aberdeenshire region.
The surge in cases in Aberdeen has not, so far, led to an increase in the numbers of individuals hospitalised.
The First Minister confirmed there is a younger “age profile” currently associated with cases across Scotland, as well as in Aberdeen, adding there could be a link between hospitality reopening and younger people meeting up.
She added that past experience has shown there can be a lag between cases and people becoming unwell and admitted to hospital or ICU and unfortunately dying.
She said: “I hope we don’t see an increase in hospitalisation in Aberdeen over the next period but obviously one of the reasons we’re so determined to keep this virus under control is that we do know for some people it can have really serious consequences and we should never become complacent about that.”
Although there’s a strong signal coming through that it’s generally younger people being affected by this outbreak just now, we cannot take for granted that won’t translate to hospital admissions at some point.”
Dr Gregor Smith
Dr Smith said he has been in “regular dialogue” with the NHS Grampian medical director on hospital admissions, adding there is a “strong signal” it is generally younger people being affected by the virus in this outbreak.
However, he added that, from experience, it can be into the second week or beyond when positive cases generally become unwell enough to require hospital treatment.
He said: “Although there’s a strong signal coming through that it’s generally younger people being affected by this outbreak just now, we cannot take for granted that won’t translate to hospital admissions at some point.”
Meanwhile, the number of cases and contacts for the “large and complex cluster” are expected to rise.
The First Minister reminded residents of the city that restrictions remain in place, and people should not be travelling more than five miles from their home unless for work or education.