South Scotland

Coronavirus: Five-mile restriction kept around border cluster

Annan
Image caption Guidance not to travel more than five miles for leisure purposes is being kept in place for some communities

Guidance not to travel more than five miles for leisure purposes is to be kept in place around a cross-border coronavirus cluster.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the move was necessary while contact tracing efforts continued.

Residents of Annan, Gretna, Dumfries, Lockerbie, Langholm and Canonbie will see the restriction remain.

NHS Scotland clinical director Prof Jason Leitch confirmed there were now 11 cases in the cluster.

It takes in southern Scotland and north west England.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a "significant number" of contacts were being traced and tested and staff at three work places were also being tested with mobile units deployed.

She also said she was "very hopeful that this outbreak will be contained" and that there was "no evidence to suggest otherwise".

However, the first minister added: "Until contact tracing and testing has been completed we cannot be absolutely sure about that."

She asked businesses to be "extra vigilant" and said care homes in the areas affected could not have visitors this weekend.

"Please assume that there is a higher risk of infection right now," she said.

"You should not travel to pubs south of the border this weekend."

'High-risk workplaces'

Dumfries and Galloway Council said the postcodes involved in the outbreak were DG1, DG2, DG11, DG12, DG13, DG14 and DG16.

Part of the DG16 postcode area extends over the border to England.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway said everyone involved in the outbreak was self-isolating and work was taking place to identify any recent contacts after the cluster was confirmed on Wednesday.

Scotland's clinical director Prof Jason Leitch added: "The initial first case that we were aware of is a health worker from the Carlisle hospital and that may be connected to an outbreak at that hospital, but we can't be sure yet.

"The other two high-risk workplaces are two factories in Dumfries and Galloway and mobile testing units have been sent there today to test all workers."

Image caption The clinical director said the outbreak felt "very important" as it was the first one

He later named the factories involved as Young's Seafood and Alpha Solway, which makes PPE.

He said the outbreak underlined the need for the public to follow lockdown guidelines and urged anyone with symptoms, particularly in the Dumfries and Galloway area, to come forward for testing.

Prof Leitch had previously told BBC Scotland that the Scottish government had not been "taken aback" by the new cases, and that outbreak management measures had been put in place to deal with them.

"This is the first one of its kind and therefore it feels a little bit dramatic compared to what we are expecting going forward," he said.

"This will be not common but it will happen as we come out of the pandemic. This just feels very important because it is first."

He said the cases went "slightly beyond" one household but they were not at the stage that health professionals were worried about community transmission.

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