Highland health officials have linked 20 cases of Covid-19 to two Ross-shire pubs as they urge the public to remain vigilant as cases continue to rise.
The Mallard Bar and Oscars pub, situated in Dingwall’s town centre, will remain closed until the beginning of the new year as cases in the region continue to rise.
NHS Highland first confirmed the outbreak last week after a customer of the Mallard pub tested positive for the deadly virus.
Sean Kennedy, landlord of the Station square pub voluntarily closed their doors to punters last Tuesday, just three days before Christmas, as news of the outbreak spread.
Nine days on, the Oscars pub on Strathpeffer Road has now ceased trading until further notice after being linked to the growing outbreak.
A further eight positive cases have been confirmed in Dingwall, taking the total number of cases to 20.
Customers who visited the establishments between Friday, December 18 and Christmas Eve are being urged by health officials to remain vigilant and stay aware of Covid-19 symptoms.
NHS Highland have also issued an appeal for all customers to get tested for the virus as a precautionary measure as cases continue to rise.
Following an increase in cases linked to a COVID-19 outbreak in Dingwall, NHS Highland has issued the following advice…
An NHS spokesman said: “Additionally, whilst we would not normally advise testing of people without symptoms, given the high number of cases linked to the outbreak, we would advise all customers who visited the premises between the dates above to get a test for COVID-19 in addition to remaining vigilant for symptoms. If symptoms were to develop at a later point, you should seek a further test.”
Individuals diagnosed with the virus have registered a wide range of symptoms including headache, sore muscles and joints, tiredness, sore throat, cold-like symptoms and and vomiting.
Anyone who becomes unwell should isolate immediately and seek a test.
Meanwhile, NHS Highland urged the public to continue following the guidelines to help supress the spread of the virus.
An NHS spokesman added: “We would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone across Highland that we are seeing a significant increase in cases across the Highlands and that whilst we understand the desire to do so, you should not meet anyone who is not in your household indoors in your home or in their home.
“Everyone should continue to adhere to physical distancing guidelines, wear a face-covering when in enclosed spaces, clean your hands and surfaces regularly and immediately self-isolate and seek a test if you develop symptoms.”
In Shetland, a further seven positive cases of coronavirus have been recorded, bringing the total number of cases linked to the outbreak to 43.
More than 300 people are now self-isolating as a result.
The cases are being linked to the original North Mainland outbreak, which is understood to have been generated either directly or through household spread.
NHS Shetland consultant in public health Susan Laidlaw said: “We are confident that we understand the spread of the virus in this current outbreak, and that all the appropriate measures are being taken to control the situation.
“However it does remain very serious, and we are likely to see more positive cases before things, hopefully, settle down again.
“And although most people currently have a relatively mild illness, we still may see people becoming seriously unwell.
“Even with all the extensive contact tracing and testing, there may well be more people in Shetland who have picked up the virus, are infectious but have absolutely no symptoms.
“This is why it is so important to minimise contact with other people, always maintain physical distancing, wear masks and wash hands.
“It would not take much to spark another outbreak.”