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New COVID-19 cases in Lanarkshire linked to call centre outbreak, Nicola Sturgeon says

New COVID-19 cases in Lanarkshire linked to call centre outbreak, Nicola Sturgeon says

The majority of new COVID-19 cases in Scotland are in Lanarkshire following an outbreak at a Motherwell call centre, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Sturgeon said that “at least some” of the 22 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours are likely to be connected to a call centre that was carrying out contact tracing on behalf of NHS England.

She said contact tracing is under way and that the Scottish Government resilience committee will meet this afternoon to consider whether any “further steps” are required to limit the spread of the virus.

At least eight people associated with the Sitel call centre office in Motherwell had tested positive for COVID-19, Public Health Scotland said on Monday.

Sturgeon said: “The provisional information I have at this stage is that the majority of these cases are in Lanarkshire and at least some of them are likely to be connected to the Sitel call centre that has been doing work on the behalf of NHS England.

“I will chair a Scottish Government resilience meeting later this afternoon to consider the latest situation in Lanarkshire and to consider any further steps that may be required.”

She added: “These figures are a sharp reminder that the virus is circulating in Scotland and a reminder that if we allow it to, it will spread rapidly in social settings or workplaces”.

Sturgeon made the comments during the Scottish Government’s coronavirus media briefing.

Education Secretary John Swinney announced that a decision on whether to go ahead with plans to fully reopen schools would be made on 30 July.

He said that he would make a statement to parliament on Thursday with updates on the implementation of practical measures to ensure schools are safe for teachers and pupils, including access to testing.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith also announced that children under the age of five who are displaying COVID-19 symptoms will be eligible for testing from Wednesday.

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