HOLYROOD’S opposition parties have broadly welcomed the local lockdown in Aberdeen, but demanded more information from Nicola Sturgeon about what happens next.

The Scottish Tories also claimed the First Minister had questions to answer about the pace at which vital contact tracers had been recruited.

Aberdeenshire West Tory MSP Alexander Burnett said only 575 contact tracers had been hired across Scotland by June 1, compared to the SNP’s target of 2,000.  

READ MORE: The 28 bars linked to Covid-19 outbreak in Aberdeen

He said there had been reports of hospitality businesses in Aberdeen adopting a “DIY” approach to contact tracing, as no calls were being made from the central service.  

He said: “The decision today to impose a further period of lockdown in Aberdeen is the right one in the circumstances, but a bitter blow to the city and its economy.

“However, questions will need to be answered about the operation of the track and trace system locally and the resources made available to support it.

"Recruiting just about a quarter of what the SNP government promised is a failure by any measure.

“The overwhelming priority now must be to suppress any community transmission of the virus, so the lockdown of Aberdeen can be ended at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Labour said Ms Sturgeon must explain why Education Secretary John Swinney was at the forefront of the Aberdeen response when his portfolio was “in utter disarray”, not least with the row over the SQA downgrading 120,000 estimated exam grades.

MSP Jackie Baillie said: “The virus cluster in Aberdeen is a serious cause for concern and the Scottish Government and Aberdeen City Council have made the correct decision to protect the wellbeing of the community by re-imposing certain restrictions.

“The containment of the virus is of the highest importance and Scottish Labour will continue to support the efforts of the government to do so while holding it to account for its failings.

“The First Minister must explain why John Swinney has been tasked with leading the response to this outbreak while his education brief is in utter disarray. 

“There are numerous other ministers capable of leading this response and the choice of Mr Swinney cannot be used to escape scrutiny of the exam results fiasco. He had one job to do and he has spectacularly failed at that, so I wouldn’t put him in charge of anything else.

“The re-imposition of restrictions will inevitably have a negative impact on the economy of Aberdeen and the North East. It is vital that the Scottish Government is willing to do all it can to protect not only the physical, but also the economic wellbeing of the area.”

READ MORE: Aberdeen lockdown: How Scotland reacted to the new restrictions

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie demanded for support for local businesses affected by the lockdown. 

He said: "The risk with easing the lockdown was always that fresh outbreaks would arise and have to be dealt with. 

“Caution is the correct response that we support so we cannot afford to let our guard down. 

"Hopefully this outbreak can be swiftly addressed but these additional restrictions will bring with them a significant impact on the economy of Aberdeen.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats have been asking for weeks for more detail about how local lockdowns will be enforced and what support will be made available for businesses and employees. It is time for the First Minister to provide some much-needed clarity." 

Kevin Stewart, the SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central said: “This news will be extremely difficult for everyone across Aberdeen and the North-East.

“All of us need to comply with the rules when it’s required of us – including self isolation. By doing that, we can help to contain incidents when they do occur and we can ensure that – rather than going into reverse – we can continue to ease out of lockdown.

“We cannot underestimate the dire consequences of a second spike of Covid-19. 

"We are again being asked to make essential sacrifices but I trust the people of Aberdeen and our neighbours in Aberdeenshire to do what’s right and look after each other.”

Stephen Flynn, the SNP MP for Aberdeen South, added: “The increased number of cases of Covid-19 in Aberdeen is another reminder that this virus has not gone away, and we must all remain vigilant. 

“It remains extremely infectious and, of course, it remains extremely dangerous.

“All of of us have a part to play in denying this virus the opportunities to spread or we run the risk of undoing some of the progress made thanks to the overwhelming majority of people in Aberdeen following the guidelines.

“It’s absolutely crucial that we take all necessary steps to minimise transmission of Covid-19, do the right thing and strictly adhere to the necessary measures to prevent any further spread.

“In light of pub closures over the weekend I wrote to the Chancellor to call for full financial protection for businesses and employees impacted - enhanced support from the UK Government is now a necessity.”