Nicola Sturgeon dismisses claim about Edinburgh Covid-19 ‘cover-up’

NICOLA Sturgeon has dismissed “nonsense” claims of a cover-up after an outbreak of coronavirus was linked to a Nike conference in Edinburgh.

At her daily coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said concerns over patient confidentiality meant details of the event were not made public earlier.

A BBC Scotland Disclosure investigation revealed more than 70 Nike employees from around the world attended a conference at the Hilton Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh on February 26 and 27, It is understood one visiting attendee passed on the virus, with investigations finding at least 25 people linked to the event contracted Covid-19, including eight living in Scotland.

The first Scottish coronavirus case was confirmed in Tayside on March 1, though this was unrelated to the conference.

READ MORE: Coronavirus spread in Scotland by Nike employees before first case​ confirmed

Mass gatherings were banned on March 16 and lockdown measures introduced on March 23.

Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray claimed the BBC report showed there was “a cover-up following the February outbreak”.

But Sturgeon said all appropriate measures had been taken and the cases had been reported in the Scottish Government’s usual figures.

She commented: “On the accusation of a cover-up, that is complete and utter nonsense. I don’t know where that accusation comes from but it sounds like highly politicised nonsense as well.”

The First Minister explained that Health Protection Scotland set up an incident management team when the virus transmission became clear and contact-tracing had been carried out.

She continued: “I was satisfied then and I am satisfied now that all appropriate steps were taken.

“At the time I probed whether we should be putting more information into the public domain. The advice, which is advice I accepted, is that it was not appropriate.”

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Sturgeon added: “One of the reasons for that was patient confidentiality at a time when the number of cases remained as low as they were.

“To identify where any case contracted the virus could potentially have identified the patients concerned.”

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