MORE than 30 passengers who shared a flight to Aberdeen with three oil workers who later tested positive for the Brazil Covid variant have yet to be traced. 

Dr Gregor Smith, Scotland's chief medical officer, said 19 of the 34 individuals who are yet to be spoken to by contact tracers appeared not to have provided valid phone numbers.

However, Dr Smith said there was "no evidence" from genomic sequencing that the variant had escaped and was spreading in the local community. 

Around 5-10 per cent of all positive cases are sequenced to track which Covid variants are spreading in the community, with the UK 'Kent' variant accounting for around 85% of current infections. 

Anyone who was on the London Heathrow to Aberdeen flight, BA1312, on January 29 has been asked to get in touch with the National Contact Tracing Centre 0800 030 8012. 

There were a total of 90 people on the plane, including three flight crew. 

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, responding to questions during the daily Covid briefing, said 56 people who had been on board the flight have been successfully contacted by 34 are still being traced. 

Ms Freeman said: "Part of the difficulty is where the data we've been given has been incomplete so it's harder to track those individuals down."

Dr Smith said the issue related to phone numbers for these passengers which were "not valid". Air passengers are required to provide contact details to facilitate contact tracing.

Dr Smith said efforts were now underway to source alternative telephone numbers using health records.

In relation to the three oil workers - who had flown from Brazil to Aberdeen via Paris and Heathrow - Ms Freeman said all 249 of their close contacts had been traced. 

Dr Smith said the individuals had self-isolated at home following the flight, in line with travel quarantine rules, and "that has helped prevent the spread that we would have been concerned about".

He added: "At this moment in time we're not seeing anything come through at all which would suggest there has been any escape of this virus into the local community.

"We'll continue to receive other test results back over the coming days, and as an additional layer of precaution we'll be seeking to do additional genomic sequencing of routine tests in that area.

"But there is nothing to suggest that this has resulted in any escape of this variant into local communities."