NICOLA Sturgeon has re-imposed lockdown restrictions on Aberdeen as cases linked to an outbreak at a pub continue to rise.

The First Minister said that 54 Covid-19 cases have now been associated to the cluster – with Ms Sturgeon warning that the outbreak "may involve some community transmission".

She said a tough precautionary approach was being adopted to help ensure schools reopened on schedule, with education prioritised ahead of the hospitality sector in the city.

READ MORE: These are the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions being reintroduced in Aberdeen

All pubs, bars and restaurants will be closed in Aberdeen from 5pm today, while residents have been told not to travel more than five miles for leisure purposes or go into each others' houses – while other Scots should not travel to Aberdeen.

Ms Sturgeon said that 191 contacts have been traced in relation to the cluster.

READ MORE: Seven confirmed or suspected Covid-19 deaths registered in Scotland in the last week

She said that the rise in cases has contributed to a greater fear their was a "significant outbreak" in the city.

According to the First Minister, more than 20 other pubs and restaurants are involved in the cluster.

Schools are still expected to re-open in Aberdeen City on August 17 as planned and the restrictions will be reviewed in seven days - but could be extend further if needed.

Ms Sturgeon said that there had been 64 new cases of Covid confirmed across Scotland overnight - the highest daily figure since May 23.

Of the 64 new cases, 36 were in Grampian, though it was not yet clear  how many were linked to the outbreak centred on the Hawthorn Bar.

She said: "This high number of cases considerably heightens our concern that we are dealing with a significant outbreak in Aberdeen that may involve some community transmission."

She said half of recent new cases were in people aged 20 to 39, suggesting the return of young people to pubs was as a factor, with alcohol likely to have caused some people to drop their guard.

She said the Abderen outbreak should be a deafening wake-up call to the rest of Scotland that coronavirus remained a threat which could cause sudden flare-ups.

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The closures will be backed by governmental regulations, the First Minister said, and will be enforced if the rules are not followed.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We have been led to the conclusion that we must now take further, immediate steps, on a highly precautionary basis to prevent further spread and give the Test and Protect teams the best possible chance of successfully breaking these chains of transmission.

READ MORE: 'Cause for alarm' as hospital admissions for Covid rise in Scotland

“Earlier this morning I chaired a meeting of SGoRR, the Scottish Government’s resilience committee, because I wanted us to consider the latest data that we had overnight, and what our response to that should be."

She added: “NHS Grampian, Police Scotland, and the leaders and chief executive of Aberdeen City Council played a full part in that meeting and I’m very grateful to them for their constructive and very helpful contributions.

“But we are at a stage of this pandemic where extreme caution is necessary and also, in my view, sensible. I’m also mindful of the need to act quickly and decisively if we are to succeed in our aim of keeping transmission as close to elimination levels as possible and also to protect our priority - and it is our priority - of getting young people back to school.

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“So I can confirm it was agreed at SGoRR this morning, albeit extremely reluctantly, to reimpose some restrictions on the Aberdeen City area.

"Our travel guidance to people in Aberdeen, from today, is that you should no longer travel more than five miles for leisure or recreational purposes. 

"You may continue to travel for work or education, but we advise against other travel. 

"We are also advising people who are not in Aberdeen, not to travel to Aberdeen. 

"If you are already in Aberdeen, visiting family or on holiday, you can stay, but please follow all of the guidance while  you are there and take extra care when you return home.

"Secondly, from today people in Aberdeen should not go into each other’s houses. 

"Extended household groups can continue – but remember, those are situations which should only involve one other adult, who is living on their own.

"And finally we will be introducing regulations, we will publish these later today, requiring all indoor and outdoor hospitality in the city to close by 5pm today.

"That includes all bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs. 

"Hotel restaurants can remain open –  but to provide food for residents only and takeaway services can continue, but all other pubs and restaurants and cafes must close.

"This restriction on hospitality will be backed by regulation, so if necessary, it will be enforced, but I would expect, given the responsible way they have behaved in recent days, that owners of these businesses in Aberdeen will act voluntarily and continue to be responsible.

"I want to thank businesses in the hospitality trade for their co-operation so far.

"These regulations and the associated guidance and advice will be reviewed in seven days’ time – by which time I hope that we will be in a better position to judge the scale and the trajectory of this outbreak.

"And at that point, if these restrictions can be removed, we will remove them, in their entirety or in part.  

"But I should also give notice that if it is considered necessary, we may extend them beyond the initial seven day period."

Dr Emmanuel Okpo, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Grampian, said: "I know people in the city will be concerned by this news.

"I want to stress that our health protection and Test & Protect teams are working extremely hard to speak to all the detected cases and identify their close contacts.

"We are also working closely with our local partners and are grateful for their support.

"My message to everyone is one of vigilance and if you are suffering from symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, please arrange a test."

Councillor Jenny Laing, Co-Leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “It is unfortunate that just as we were returning to a degree normality this outbreak has happened, but the safety of our citizens remains our first priority. 

"We must continue to adhere to the Scottish Government’s guidance to ensure the safety of everyone. Aberdeen City Council will continue to work in partnership with Scottish Government, NHS Grampian and Police Scotland to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 in the city and surrounding areas.” 

Councillor Douglas Lumsden, Co-Leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “It is essential that we continue to adhere to the Scottish Government’s guidance in order that we can control the coronavirus as best we can. 

"It will be challenging for many as we were beginning to enjoy the easing of the lockdown however public safety continues to be paramount.

"We appreciate the enormous efforts made by everyone to adhere to the lockdown measures previously in place and would remind them that together we can get through this.”