Commenting on the First Minister's statement advising against non-essential travel to very high or high alert areas under England’s new three tier system, Kirsty Licence, Chair of the Incident Management Team looking into cases associated with Blackpool, and led by Public Health Scotland said:
“We are seeing a high number of cases of COVID-19 amongst residents of Scotland who have recently travelled between Scotland and Blackpool. We know Blackpool is a popular destination, especially for holidaymakers from the west of Scotland. Many of these cases have travelled using group transport, especially coach, but also private transport, and many are of middle and older ages with increased risk of suffering from very severe COVID-19 illness.
"Our data shows the numbers of Scottish cases who visited Blackpool shortly before their illnesses substantially exceeds those having visited any other place in the UK. Over the past month, since 14th September, when Blackpool was first noted on a case there have been 286 cases in Scotland whose records note recent travel to Blackpool.
"These cases highlight the risk associated with travelling to areas with high rates of infection. People in Scotland should not be travelling to or from the health board areas under local restrictions except for essential reasons. If you have to travel, follow all local guidance and restrictions, both where you live and where you are travelling to. You should avoid close contact with others, keep away from crowded places and observe FACTS.
"Those falling into a group that is at an increased risk of more severe illness, should in particular consider carefully where and how they travel.
"Anyone who has one or more symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately self-isolate and book a test. Those who are required to be in self-isolation either as a case or as a close contact of a known case must not travel – which may mean those visiting other areas of the UK are unable to travel out or return home for a significant period of time."
More information on the UK Government’s tier system for England, including a postcode checker is available online.
People living in the following health board areas are currently advised not to travel outside these areas unless they have to.
- Greater Glasgow and Clyde
- Ayrshire and Arran
- Forth Valley