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Cross-border coronavirus cluster infection cases rise to 11

National clinical director Jason Leitch praised the work of public health officials in identifying the close contacts of those patients.

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An 11th case of coronavirus linked to a cross-border cluster has been identified (Andrew Milligan/PA)

An 11th case of coronavirus linked to a cross-border cluster has been identified (Andrew Milligan/PA)

An 11th case of coronavirus linked to a cross-border cluster has been identified (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Investigations into a cross-border coronavirus outbreak have identified an 11th case of the infection linked to a Carlisle hospital, Scotland’s national clinical director has said.

All the cases are believed to be linked and have been discovered around the Dumfries and Galloway border with England, with the area put into what is effectively a local lockdown.

Professor Jason Leitch announced on Wednesday that nine cases had been identified around Gretna and Annan, and that figure has now risen to 11 confirmed cases of the infection.

Staff who work at the hospital and live in Dumfries and Galloway have been offered “anything they need”, including testing, Mr Leitch told the Scottish Government’s daily briefing on Friday.

Prof Leitch praised public health officials for doing a “fantastic job in controlling this outbreak”, with all 23 known contacts of people with the infection believed to be self-isolating.

He said: “We continue to manage our Dumfries and Galloway and Cumbria outbreak of Covid-19; there are now 11 positive cases in that outbreak.

“It’s important to understand that the new positive, in the last 24 hours, is not connected to the other households in this outbreak in any way, but has an independent connection to the Carlisle hospital.

“So, in that sense, we’re counting it as one outbreak across both of the jurisdictions.

“We’re reaching out to all the staff from the hospital who live in Dumfries and Galloway with a Scottish residential postcode and are offering them anything they need in terms of testing if that’s appropriate and other support if they wish to speak to us.

“There are 23 contacts presently in our contact-tracing system, they have all been spoken to, they have all been offered testing, they have all been told to self-isolate and we believe they are all self-isolating.”

At the briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was asked about one household that has been infected as part of the cross-border cluster, with ITV Border saying the family have suffered abuse from others who claim they had not followed the coronavirus guidance.

Ms Sturgeon said “nobody is pointing the finger at individuals”, as she stressed everyone has a responsibility to suppress the virus by following the rules.

She added: “The virus will take any opportunity to spread that we give it.”

PA