NICOLA Sturgeon has said she will "reflect" on whether it was right to keep one of Scotland's earliest coronavirus outbreaks from the public in order to protect patient confidentiality. 

The First Minister faced renewed questions over the incident at a Nike conference in February after it emerged dozens of people who came into contact with delegates were never told.

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw has called on Ms Sturgeon to apologise and come to Holyrood to answer questions on the issue.

A senior Labour source told The Herald the party intended to raise the issue at Scottish Questions in the House of Commons tomorrow.

A total of 25 people contracted Covid-19 following the conference at Edinburgh's Hilton Carlton Hotel on February 26 and 27, including eight who were resident in Scotland.

However it has now emerged 20 Lloyds Banking Group employees who shared facilities with the Nike delegates were never traced or made aware of the outbreak.

Three guides who led delegates on a walking tour of Edinburgh were also never contacted, while there were reports at the weekend that staff who shared an office with Nike in Glasgow became unwell shortly after the conference. They were also not told.

Ms Sturgeon denied mistakes were made and categorically rejected any claims of a cover-up.

Speaking at her daily coronavirus briefing, she said an Incident Management Team was established following the outbreak, comprised of "very experienced" public health professionals who carried out contact tracing.

She said this team "would do everything it thinks is necessary to protect public health".

She added: "Had they believed that there were further actions that they required to take to protect public health, they would have taken those actions, because they are experts in these matters."

The First Minister said the reason more information was not put into the public domain was patient confidentiality.

She said to have named the event "would almost certainly have identified the patients", given the small number of Covid-19 cases at the time.

She added: "Patient confidentiality is a legitimate reason. 

"That said, I think it is also legitimate, and I want to be very clear about this, for people to question whether that should have been the overriding consideration. 

"And certainly as First Minister, I and the Government will reflect on that and listen carefully to those views.

"At different stages of the kind of situation we are dealing with now with this virus, different balances of judgement will be made.

"For example, one of the things that we are considering right now as part of our test, trace and isolate programme is what the balance of judgement in these situations will be between patient confidentiality and information made available to the public. 

"So these are not always fixed considerations right throughout a different situation."

Asked if not telling the public was a mistake, Ms Sturgeon said: "No. 

"I accept that there are different judgements you can always come to about these things, and I suppose what I'm trying to do here is be open and accepting of that. 

"There are very few aspects of dealing with this in my experience over the last couple of months that are absolutely black and white and clear cut, and a lot of it is judgement. 

"I accepted at the outset of this and I accept now that sometimes we'll get these judgements wrong. 

"That's not me saying I think that's the case in this case, but I also accept that even in situations where I think that ok, on balance I still think the judgement was right, other people will take a different view, because that's the nature of judgement."

She added: "What I do take exception to here, and I say this very bluntly, is the kind of politicised accusation that comes from some quarters, not all, that this was some kind of cover-up. 

"I just pose again the question: what for? Why? What possible motivation?"

Ms Sturgeon said people can come to different judgements about difficult issues "without always having to believe the worst about your opponent's motivations". 

Ian Murray, Labour MP for Edinburgh South, said he was contacted by the walking tour operators following media reports of the outbreak.

He said: “As every day passes, the scale of the failure to contact trace those who engaged with Nike delegates becomes clearer.

“How many local residents did the delegates come into close contact with during the walking tour?

“This demonstrates why the Scottish Government was wrong to cover-up the ground-zero outbreak.

“If the government had been honest with the Edinburgh public about a major outbreak in the city centre, those who met with delegates could have come forward to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“It’s time for Nicola Sturgeon to admit her government made a major error of judgement and for an apology to the people of Edinburgh.”