Renowned microbiologist Hugh Pennington has argued against the imposition of an Aberdeenshire-wide shift to tier three pandemic restrictions.
Professor Pennington, emeritus professor at Aberdeen University, also argued the increase in cases related to seafood processing companies in Buchan reflect similar situations at universities and meat-packing plants.
He said: “It’s really been at quite low levels in Aberdeenshire right through the whole pandemic, but when the virus gets the opportunity to spread and cause an outbreak, it might well do that.
“We know for example that meat-packing plants are a classic place that the virus has done extremely well.
“And that’s not entirely down to it spreading in the factories, but the people working there, their shared living accommodation and shared transportation.
“It’s a similar background to the students living in halls of residence, where they share kitchens and bathrooms and all that kind of stuff.”
Prof Pennington added: “If the incident management team is confident that it has a grip on how exactly the virus is spreading about, I don’t see why that should alter the tier rating for Aberdeenshire as a whole, as these are special cases.
“It’s like having a big outbreak in a care home bumping up the total number of cases in a region.
“Of course a fish processing plant is not the same, but if they know exactly why there’s more cases in these places, then there’s no reason that if you’ve got an issue in Buchan that places like Huntly or Banff needs to suffer being in a different tier.”