Twenty Covid-19 cases linked to test and trace centre

Five cases have emerged, who are either family members or otherwise connected to Sitel workers.

A total of 20 cases of coronavirus have been linked to an outbreak at an NHS England contact tracing centre in North Lanarkshire.

It was confirmed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday there have been 15 positive tests among employees at the Sitel site in Bellshill.

A further five cases have emerged, who are either family members or otherwise connected to those workers.

All Sitel workers have been told to isolate at home for 14 days as well as being tested for the virus.

Contact tracing has shown that a number of people, who have tested positive, also had links to other locations before the outbreak.

Precautions in the form of protective equipment and cleaning are in place at those businesses, which were Owen’s Bar in Coatbridge, Railway Tavern and Merlin’s Bar in Motherwell, Costa Coffee in Carfin and End Clothing in Glasgow.

Those who may have attended these locations over the last week or so have been advised to be “extra vigilant” by Sturgeon and to isolate and book a test if they experience symptoms.

Due to the location of the call centre and because people travel there from other locations in Scotland, deputy first minister John Swinney earlier said the situation is “not as simple” as applying a local lockdown.

He told BBC Radio Scotland: “It demonstrates that there is a very serious situation in this facility, where something has quite clearly gone badly wrong in the arrangements, the working arrangements within the Sitel facility, resulting in such an outbreak and we are putting in place all of the test and protect arrangements to make sure that we contain the outbreak as far as we possibly can do.”

Dr David Cromie, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Lanarkshire, said they were working closely with Sitel and staff in the building.

He said: “We are taking all of the necessary steps to identify those who may have been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 and to mitigate the risk of onward transmission to others.

“We would like to reassure the local community that appropriate measures are being implemented.”

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