THE party is, quite literally, over for Glasgow.

House parties in the west of Scotland have been blamed for a recent resurgence in Covid cases and now residents of Scotland’s largest city - as well as neighbouring East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire - have been banned from having any visitors in their homes, or going to anyone else’s.

The move comes less than a week after Police Scotland were handed the powers to break up household gatherings of more than 15 people.

Between August 1 and September 1, 511 new cases of the coronavirus were detected in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board region, but more than half - 260 - were identified in the past week alone.

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There have also been 14 new hospital admissions for Covid in the past week, up from 142 to 156 by Tuesday when the new restrictions were introduced.

Given that the number of people in hospital with Covid only increased by 21 nationally over the same period, that leaves NHS GGC accounting for two thirds of new admissions.

It may be the largest health board area, but it certainly does not account for two thirds of the population (in fact, it’s more like one fifth), so it is understandable that alarm bells started ringing.

What has left some people puzzled is the apparently strange situation where you are now forbidden from having a couple of friends round for dinner, but you are still free to meet them in the pub for a drink.

Notably, the Scottish Government guidance actually states that people in the Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire local authority areas “should not meet with people from other households in indoor household settings”, but adds that they can “continue to meet outdoors, including in gardens, and in hospitality settings, provided all existing guidance is followed”.

But are residents of these areas really going to sit outside pubs and restaurants for the good of public health while people with postcodes in East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire head inside?

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In any case, this is something of a red herring. Unlike in Aberdeen, where contact tracing linked the spread to city centre pubs and drinkers ‘crawling’ between various venues (hence the decision to temporarily close all indoor and outdoor hospitality), surveillance in the Glasgow area has found a pattern of cases clustering around household gatherings.

These can be particularly problematic since it is unlikely anyone throwing a house party is enforcing any of the precautions asked of the hospitality sector: no temperature checks or hand sanitiser at the door; no facemasks; no physical distancing; loud music resulting in revellers shouting to be heard etc.

All in all, it’s a recipe for disaster, and not one unique to Scotland.

Back in April, public health officials in Olmstead County in Minnesota traced an outbreak of the virus to a single guest who attended a house party while they were just beginning to shown symptoms.

This one person passed it on to 11 other party guests, who in turn appeared to have infected five others in the community.

Then in July, so-called ‘influencers’ (people with a large social media following) were accused of contributing to a large spike in cases in California by ignoring social distancing rules to continue attend - and post from - crowded parties at glitzy Los Angeles mansions, some despite testing positive for the virus.

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The situation became so notorious at one Hollywood home occupied by TikTok creators Noah Beck, Blake Gray, and Bryce Hall that LA mayor Eric Garcetti actually ordered electricity to be cut off to the property on August 19 “to stop the large parties held there in flagrant violation of our public health orders”.

The crackdown on house parties in Scotland comes as public health bosses brace for the next big threat to containing Covid: the return of university students.

The British Medical Journal this week reported that the reopening of around a third of US colleges at the start of August now “looks to have been a disaster”, with a series of major campus outbreaks and at least 26 000 new infections at over 750 institutions by August 26.

Researchers said universities should not open unless local positivity rates (number of positive cases detected per 100 people tested) are under 5%, and that overseas students should quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

Scotland meets the criteria for the former and is planning to impose the latter.

However, they also warned that shared student accommodation is a setting where Covid can spread between asymptomatic students “at lightning speed”, and called for universal screening for all students every two to three days “assuming typical behaviour of college students”.

And where will freshers and undergrads go to party if the nightclubs remain closed? Student flats and halls of residence seems a likely bet.

If schools put our testing capacity under pressure, we haven’t seen anything yet.