Lockdown measures are being reimposed on the city of Aberdeen, after Nicola Sturgeon warned that an escalating coronavirus outbreak was at risk of spreading across Scotland.
The First Minister said that all pubs, bars and restaurants would be required to close by 5pm on Wednesday, while a five mile advisory limit on travel is also being reintroduced.
While shops will be able to remain open for now, residents have been advised not to visit other people in their homes.
Extra police will be deployed to the city to enforce the new rules, with officers potentially being deployed from elsewhere in the country, the national force confirmed.
Ms Sturgeon announced the restrictions as a cluster of cases, associated with a city centre pub, continued to spiral despite the efforts of health officials to get the outbreak under control.
She said the situation should be seen as "the biggest wake-up call" since the early days of the pandemic, with people on pub crawls, travelling between venues, thought to have contributed to the rapid spread.
We are aware that a number of detected cases linked to this cluster have visited other venues across Aberdeen and as of 12 noon today, these venues are as follows:
1. Bieldside Inn
— NHS Grampian (@NHSGrampian) August 5, 2020
As of Wednesday, 54 cases had been confirmed as part of the “significant” outbreak, which “may include some community transmission”.
The restrictions currently apply to Aberdeen city, home to around 230,000 people, but could be extended to Aberdeenshire, the First Minister said. Among those affected by an extension to Aberdeenshire would be the Queen and Prince Philip, who are currently at Balmoral for their summer holiday.
Ms Sturgeon said the measures, initially in place for seven days, would be backed by government regulations, and will be enforced if the rules are not followed, although the five mile travel limit is advice rather than a requirement.
Members of the public were told not to travel to the city, while NHS Grampian named 28 bars and restaurants, three golf clubs and a football club as venues visited by people linked to the cluster, which was initially tied to the Hawthorn Bar in the city centre.
"The last thing we want to do is to reimpose these restrictions but this outbreak is reminding us just how highly infectious Covid is," Ms Sturgeon said.
"Our precautionary and careful judgment is that we need to take decisive action now, difficult as that undoubtedly is, in order to try to contain this outbreak and prevent further harm later on.
"As I said earlier, this is about doing all we can to ensure our children can return to schools next week."
Schools in Scotland are due to open on August 11, earlier than in England, and Ms Sturgeon has previously suggested that the hospitality sector could be sacrificed to protect the reopening of schools.
She added: "Acting now, we judge, gives us the time and the space to protect the ability of our young people to return to education."
The news of the partial lockdown was as a severe setback for the businesses in the city, representatives of the sector said. They did not directly criticise the decision, but called for additional support for the premises affected. The economy of Aberdeen had already been struggling due to its reliance on the oil and gas sector, which has suffered a downturn this year.
“Today’s announcement will come as a devastating blow to the many hospitality businesses who have invested significant amounts of money in reopening and providing a safe experience to their staff and the public,” a spokeswoman for the Scottish Tourism Alliance and UK Hospitality said.
“Aberdeen serves as an example of how quickly the virus can reignite and illustrates the immediate impact that this has on a local economy and public health.
“Today’s news comes as a shock and should serve as a reminder that disregarding these guidelines has almost immediate consequences, however we must also recognise that many people and businesses are enjoying the easing of restrictions in a safe way that poses little threat to public safety.
“Further sector specific support will be required in the short to medium to enable hospitality businesses to continue to trade beyond this period of instability and retain jobs in our local economies.”
Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr, of Police Scotland, said: "It’s really important that people follow the instructions and guidance from the Scottish Government.
"To support that, we will have additional patrols in Aberdeen, where local restrictions have been reintroduced.
“As a national service, Police Scotland is able to quickly flex capacity to support local communities across the country, and we will provide whatever additional resources are necessary to protect and support the communities affected.”
He added: “Throughout the response to the pandemic, the majority of the public followed the law and Scottish Government advice. I realise that this situation will be frustrating for people in the affected area but it’s really important that we all continue to do so.
"Our officers will continue to explain the legislation and guidance but, for the minority who may choose to breach the regulations and risk the health of others, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action where appropriate.”