Thursday, 1 Oct 2020

Aberdeen lockdown review: When will lockdown ease in Aberdeen?

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reimposed lockdown measures in Aberdeen following a cluster of coronavirus cases in the city. Now 207 cases have been linked to bars and restaurants in Aberdeen, with 1,050 contacts of those diagnosed identified.

Pubs and restaurants were told to close after the outbreak was discovered.

Residents in Aberdeen were told not to visit one another’s households, and restrictions were put on hospital and care home visits.

A five-mile travel ban for leisure or holidays is also in place, as well as no travel to the city even if you live in Aberdeen.

Initially, just one pub was identified in the cluster, however, after contact tracing this grew to 28 bars, cafes, golf clubs and a junior football club.

Read More: SNP shamed: Only ONE pub asked to share customer details to stop COVID

It also emerged eight Aberdeen FC players had visited the city’s Soul Bar, with two later testing positive for coronavirus.

A statement from Scottish Tourism Alliance and UK Hospitality said the lockdown was a “devastating blow” to businesses just beginning to trade again after months of strict lockdown.

They added: “Aberdeen serves as an example of how quickly the virus can reignite and illustrates the immediate impact that this has on a local economy and public health.

“It is absolutely critical that all businesses and customers follow the government guidelines and safety protocols stringently and that we safeguard as best as we can to prevent this situation happening elsewhere in the country.”

When will lockdown ease in Aberdeen?

A review on the local lockdown in Aberdeen, which has now been in place for two weeks, is due on Wednesday.

However, Ms Sturgeon spoke on Monday and said relaxing lockdown restrictions in the city “may be a little bit premature”.

Despite saying coronavirus cases from the cluster were “decelerating”, she added measures may last at least another week.

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The First Minister told Monday’s coronavirus briefing: “I think we do see signs, and it’s too early to be absolutely definitive about this, the increase in cases in that cluster has decelerated a bit, so it is slowing down.

“We need more time to see whether it’s starting to properly reduce in the way we would want it to and I do think the evidence that we have thus far is that Test and Protect has done a very good job.”

She added: “We will continue to monitor it closely, we have to review the restrictions again on Wednesday, seven days from the last review.

“I can’t say at this stage that those restrictions will be lifted yet but it may still be a little bit premature for that.”

Where else is under local lockdown?

Currently, areas of the North West, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester are all under local restrictions after an increase in coronavirus cases.

Leicester’s lockdown was the subject of a meeting by officials on Monday, and some are expecting an announcement easing restrictions soon.

A No 10 spokesman said local lockdown restrictions are being kept “under constant review”.

Asked whether measures in Leicester could be lifted, he said: “We continue to keep all the areas under local lockdown under constant review and where we can ease restrictions, we have done.”

However, in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire local lockdown continues for the foreseeable future.

While restaurants and bars remain open, residents from two different households are not allowed to meet.

Groups of up to six people can meet up outdoors, so long as social distancing is adhered to.

Residents in these areas are banned from meeting people from different households indoors.

No end date for the lockdown for parts of the north is currently in sight, with data showing cases surging in the region.

In the past week, Public Health England figures showed there have been 69 cases per 100,000 in Blackburn with Darwen, overtaking Leicester, where the infection rate has fallen to 50 cases per 100,000.

The restrictions apply to Greater Manchester, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendleton, Rossendale, Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.

Oldham is on the verge of a full local lockdown, with cases surging and breaches of restrictions reported.

The borough in Greater Manchester now has the highest seven-day coronavirus infection rate in the country – 107.5 cases per 100,000 people

Authorities have urged Oldham residents not to mix with other households indoors, asking them to “act now to prevent a local lockdown” adding there is “no time to lose”.

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