A coronavirus outbreak in Aberdeen has been linked to a pub in the city, as Scotland recorded its highest daily number of Covid-19 cases in almost two months.
NHS Grampian said it had launched an investigation after it identified 13 Covid-19 cases associated with The Hawthorn bar in the city centre, with some customers who visited on Sunday, July 26, testing positive.
The cluster was confirmed days after Nicola Sturgeon said she was concerned that a large proportion of new cases were in people aged 20 to 39, which experts believe could be linked to the reopening of bars and restaurants.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed that 31 new cases north of the border had been identified on Sunday, the highest daily tally since June 4. There were 30 cases confirmed on Friday, although there have been no new deaths among people testing positive for the virus in Scotland in two-and-a-half weeks.
//THREAD We are investigating thirteen detected cases of COVID-19 in Aberdeen associated with The Hawthorn Bar, a licensed premises in the city centre. All those who have tested positive to date are exhibiting only mild symptoms.
— NHS Grampian (@NHSGrampian) August 2, 2020
The Hawthorn had physical distancing measures in place and has been given permission to continue trading. None of those identified as having caught the virus have developed severe symptoms.
Dr Emmanuel Okpo, a consultant in public health medicine at NHS Grampian, said further cases linked to the cluster could yet be identified and that the cases highlighted the risks Covid-19 still presented.
He said avoiding crowded places in particular was especially vital as pubs and restaurants open. He added: “If you arrive at a venue and you feel it’s too busy to observe physical distancing, then consider leaving.”
One man who fell ill after visiting the pub was taken to hospital said he first started feeling unwell on Wednesday.
“By Saturday morning I felt terrible,” he said. “I had a severe fever and my eyes were really sore. I also had a pain in my side and doctors considered removing my appendix which they thought may have become infected from the virus.”
Another day y’day with no deaths of people who had tested positive for COVID. However, 31 new cases reported. All of these being carefully investigated and appropriate action taken. But we should take this as a further warning that COVID is still out there. Please follow #FACTS https://t.co/05mTXtmlZu
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 2, 2020
He added: “It was very surreal being rushed to hospital and my mind did start to wonder in case things took a nasty turn.
“However, I do feel lucky that I only have mild symptoms and that I haven’t had any breathing difficulties.”
Phil Adams, who owns the bar, said he was “absolutely devastated” by the cluster.
He added: “We’ve put a lot of measures in place and we’ve worked very hard to ensure all our staff and customers are safe.
“This is a very trying time, not just for me but for everyone involved with the business.”
A spokesman for NHS Grampian confirmed that the pub had “a series of controls” in place with regard to distancing and enhanced hygiene, and had been collecting customer contact details.
He added: “Advice was provided on how these controls could be improved further and this advice has been taken on board with enhanced controls being implemented immediately. The business has co-operated fully with the investigation.”