NICOLA Sturgeon has warned the coronavirus outbreak in Aberdeen is likely to keep growing as she announced another 25 cases had been confirmed overnight.

The First Minister said the number of confirmed cases linked to pubs in the city had grown from 54 to 79, but an additional 30 cases were also being checked for connections, taking the potential total to 109.

She said 233 close contacts have been identified, and she expects that number to rise over the course of today.

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Ms Sturgeon said she was “really concerned” about similar outbreaks elsewhere in Scotland, and warned she is actively considering tighter rules for pubs and restaurants.

Speaking during her regular coronavirus briefing, she said: "The further growth of this cluster which I’ve reported today –  and I expect to be standing here tomorrow reporting a growth beyond the numbers today – is a reminder of how easily this virus can spread. 

"It also underlines why we needed to take decisive action, to keep it under control."

Aberdeen went back into lockdown yesterday with all pubs, clubs and restaurants ordered to close their doors by 5pm.

Local people have also been advised not to travel more than 5km for leisure or leave the city to go on holiday.

Ms Sturgeon said she expected the number of cases to grow despite the “strong and decisive” action to tackle it.

At the Government briefing, the First Minister said there had been 67 new confirmed cases across Scotland in the past 24 hours, 39 of them in the Grampian area.

Seventeen of the 67 cases were within the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.

Ms Sturgeon said officials are examining these carefully "to see if there is any cause for concern".

The new cases take the Scottish total to 18,847 and mark the highest single day rise for more than two months.

But Ms Sturgeon said there have now been no deaths reported of people who tested positive for the virus for three weeks, with the total remaining at 2,491.

She said the R number – the average number of people infected by one other infectious person – is now between 0.6 and 1 in Scotland. 

This is a slight increase on the last estimate, which was between 0.6 and 0.9. 

However, Ms Sturgeon said the R number "becomes a less reliable indicator when the prevalence of the virus remains very low". 

She said modelling suggests only 275 people in Scotland are infectious.

The First Minister told the briefing that there was consideration being given to extending some of the lockdown measures to Aberdeenshire.

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She said: "We are very, very mindful of the close integral links between Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and therefore we are looking carefully at whether there is at any stage a case that can be made for extending the restrictions that currently apply in Aberdeen city to areas within Aberdeenshire."

Interim chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith said Test and Protect teams in Aberdeen had established links between those who were infected with the virus and foreign travel, although he said it is not clear if this contributed to their catching the virus.

He added: "Just because you've had foreign travel doesn't mean to say that this is where you contracted the infection. We'll only know the sources of each of these cases in the fullness of time."