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First Minister concerned as Scots Covid cases rise by 123 in a single day

© Mhairi EdwardsSoldiers erect a tent at the 2 Sisters food plant in Coupar, Angus to conduct Covid testing
Soldiers erect a tent at the 2 Sisters food plant in Coupar, Angus to conduct Covid testing

The number of new coronavirus cases in Scotland rose by 123 yesterday, the biggest daily increase for three months.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the total as being “of ­concern”. More than half the new cases were in the NHS Tayside area, which covers the 2 Sisters food ­processing plant in Coupar Angus.

The factory has been linked to 68 positive cases and more than 600 workers at the plant have now been tested for the virus.

The food plant is now closed, with anyone living in a household with a factory worker required to isolate at home until August 31.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The 123 new ­positive Covid cases today is, of course, of concern. However, it also needs some context as 78 are in Tayside where we’re dealing with the outbreak at the 2 Sisters food processing plant. It’s important that all workers and household contacts follow advice to isolate.”

National clinical director Jason Leitch said an increase in the cases linked to the site was “likely” in coming days where ­soldiers have been called in to run a testing centre for staff.

Scottish Labour said yesterday it had received a leaked council memo showing staff at the closed factory would likely receive only statutory sick pay.

Yesterday’s number of positive tests is the highest since May 16, when there were 187 cases, and compares with 10 new cases a month ago on July 22.

There were 43 positive tests last Sunday, increasing to 50 on Wednesday and then 77 on Thursday. The number fell back slightly to 71 on Friday before almost doubling yesterday.

Despite the new cases, there were no deaths linked to the virus registered since Friday.

Perth & Kinross Council said: “Council staff have been out ­visiting and phoning people who work at the factory, offering public health advice in a number of ­languages, food deliveries and other support they may need.”

A total of 19,728 people have now tested positive for Covid-19 in Scotland. The latest figures show there were 246 people in hospital with confirmed coronavirus, a drop of eight from the previous day.

There were eight new cases in the NHS Grampian area, where authorities have been dealing with a cluster of cases linked to pubs in Aberdeen which has seen local lockdown measures imposed.

Oil and gas billionaire Sir Ian Wood told yesterday how the behaviour of drunken ­ revellers in Aberdeen, which led to the increases, had left him feeling “ashamed of my city”.

Meanwhile, a leading medic ­yesterday moved to allay fears over increased cases in parts of the UK. Dr Ron Daniels, an NHS intensive care doctor and founder of UK Sepsis Trust, said: “Do we need to panic? I think not. We are ­testing more people. If you test more ­people, you will find more cases. We do not see a second wave.”