Coronavirus: Sturgeon warns over Blackpool trips after at least 180 Scottish cases linked to town

Scotland’s first minister has warned against travelling to Blackpool and other coronavirus hotspots in England after dozens of people who tested positive said they had recently visited the town.

Nicola Sturgeon said a separate incident team had been set up to deal with people who had travelled to the Lancashire resort.

At least 180 people in Scotland who tested positive in the last month reported taking a trip to Blackpool.

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Mrs Sturgeon said: “I need to advise you that trips to Blackpool are now associated with a large and growing number of COVID cases in Scotland.”

“Blackpool is being mentioned in Test and Protect conversations far more than any other location outside of Scotland,” added the first minister.

Mrs Sturgeon said 94 people contacted in the past week after contracting coronavirus said they had been to Blackpool recently, while 252 reported going somewhere else in the UK.

She also warned Celtic and Rangers football fans not to travel to the town to watch the Old Firm match in pubs on Saturday.

The first minister added: “We are currently advising against non-essential travel to the parts of England which are classed as very high or high alert areas under England’s new three-tier system.

“And I’m asking people from these areas not to travel to Scotland either.”

Blackpool and the rest of Lancashire are currently under Tier 2 restrictions.

In Lancashire, the infection rate is 310.7 per 100,000, with 4,689 cases recorded in the week up to 10 October.

County council chief Geoff Driver has said further restrictions are “inevitable” and warned hospital admissions would soon reach the same level as early spring if extra measures are not brought in.

Ms Sturgeon also said she backed a call by Wales’ first minister to introduce restrictions on people travelling from high-risk areas to other UK nations.

She said she would be writing to Boris Johnson to “seek urgent talks” on the issue.

Latest daily figures for Scotland on Wednesday recorded 15 more deaths linked to COVID-19 and 1,429 more cases.

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