Scotland shuts pubs and restaurants in Aberdeen to stem COVID-19 outbreak

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LONDON (Reuters) - Scotland imposed new restrictions on the oil city of Aberdeen on Wednesday to tackle an outbreak of COVID-19 cases, closing pubs and restaurants and ordering visitors to stay away.

"We are at a stage of this pandemic where extreme caution is necessary, and also in my view, sensible," First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said at a news conference, following a meeting with officials that considered the latest data.

She said an outbreak in the city had now accounted for a total of 54 known cases in recent days, and that in the last 24 hours there had been 64 new cases across the whole of Scotland.

"This virus hasn't gone away - if you doubted that, then today we have evidence of how true that is," she added. "It is still out there and it is still highly infectious.

"The outbreak in Aberdeen is a sharp reminder of that. It shows what can happen if we let our guard drop."

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Sturgeon also advised against travel other than for work or education, and said people should not visit other households.

"We will be introducing regulations ... requiring all indoor and outdoor hospitality in the city to close by 5pm today (1600 GMT)."

Sturgeon said the action would be reviewed in seven days and was taken in part to prioritise the reopening of schools.

(Reporting by Kate Holton and William James; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Stephen Addison)