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V&A Dundee among venues closing doors as Covid-19 precaution

The UK and Scottish Governments have urged people to reduce social contact.

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VandA Dundee is closing amid the coronavirus outbreak (Jane Barlow/PA)

VandA Dundee is closing amid the coronavirus outbreak (Jane Barlow/PA)

VandA Dundee is closing amid the coronavirus outbreak (Jane Barlow/PA)

Libraries, museums and leisure centres in some parts of the country are shutting as a precaution amid the coronavirus pandemic.

V&A Dundee is among the venues closing its doors after the UK and Scottish Governments urged people to reduce social contact.

A second person in Scotland with Covid-19 has now died, while 195 people had tested positive for the virus by 2pm on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the V&A said it will close from the end of Tuesday, adding: “During these exceptional times, the health and safety of our visitors and staff is our number one priority.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and look forward to welcoming visitors back to V&A Dundee as soon as we are able.”

Dundee City Council has also taken the decision to close all of its leisure facilities until further notice, with an announcement from the authority saying it will review “service delivery over the coming days”.

Edinburgh City Council has also decided to cancel events and performances at the Usher Hall Ross Bandstand, Church Hill Theatre and the Assembly Rooms until the end of April.

A spokeswoman for the authority has asked attendees to make sure their account information is up to date.

Organisers of the Edinburgh Science Festival have also announced the April event will be cancelled.

The Scottish Parliament is not closing, but “only parliamentary service staff required to deliver key essential business onsite should attend work at Holyrood”, with all others to work from home until further notice.

In a message to staff on Tuesday, Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh said the public would be barred from public galleries at Holyrood and from sitting in on committee meetings.

All museums and galleries in the capital will also be closed from 5pm on Tuesday until the end of the next month.

NHS Lanarkshire has taken the decision to suspend visits to its hospitals to combat the virus, allowing only exceptions agreed with the senior charge nurse on duty.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran has also taken the decision to restrict visiting times to two hour-long slots every day, allowing just one person per visit and asking children under 12 do not attempt to visit.

In the Western Isles, the local authority said sport and leisure facilities, libraries and museums will close “indefinitely” by the end of Tuesday.

Stirling Council said its libraries, ticket offices, gig venues and community centres will close “until further notice”.

A Western Isles Council statement said: “Following the advice from Scottish Government that all non-essential social contact should be avoided – as a precautionary measure – all sport and leisure facilities, libraries and museums throughout the Western Isles will close indefinitely by 5pm today, Tuesday 17 March 2020.

“Harris and Lionacleit sports centres will close at 4pm. All after-school lets are also cancelled until further notice.

“It is important to reiterate that these are precautionary measures, which are being taken in order to follow Scottish Government guidelines.”

Edinburgh City Council said all events at its libraries have been cancelled though they remain open, as do museums.

National Museums Scotland later announced it would close all of its venues from 5pm on Tuesday – the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle.

“All scheduled exhibitions and events will be postponed until further notice, including the display of the Declaration of Arbroath,” a statement added.

Glasgow Life, which operates the city’s leisure centres, museums and libraries, said it is keeping the situation under review, as are Aberdeen City and South Lanarkshire Councils.

A Glasgow Life spokesman said: “Glasgow Life continues to observe and follow Scottish Government and NHS advice.

“We are aware of the updated guidance around mass events of 500 people or more, indoors or outdoors, and will review the updated guidance and its implications.

“We will be contacting everyone affected as soon as possible.”

Both North and South Lanarkshire councils announced services will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

North Lanarkshire Council said leisure memberships and direct debits “will be temporarily suspended automatically”, while South Lanarkshire Council memberships will also be “frozen”.

General Assembly
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addresses last year’s General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (Jane Barlow/PA)

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, an annual event held by the Kirk in Edinburgh, was among other cancelled events.

Principal clerk, the Reverend Dr George Whyte, said: “We did not take this decision lightly but in the current circumstances it was the only choice we could make.

“Our assembly would have brought almost a thousand people to a week-long meeting in Edinburgh including visitors from overseas and from other churches.

“It is a time when we can celebrate being the Church and make important decisions about our future but these are exceptional times and people’s health must come first.”

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Meanwhile, Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland meetings planned for March 27-29 and April 24-26 have been postponed.

It said: “The assembly will reconvene to complete its work as soon as it is safe to do so.

“In the meantime, urgent consideration is being given to how the work of the assembly can continue through digital activity.”

PA