Public Health Scotland (PHS) has today published the Conference Outbreak March 2020 Incident Management Team report.

On the 2 March 2020, PHS was alerted by international public health authorities that a person had tested positive for COVID-19, following their attendance at a conference in Edinburgh at the end of February 2020.

As a result, PHS set up and led an Incident Management Team (IMT) of highly experienced public health professionals, from NHS Boards in Scotland and national and international public health agencies, to assess and investigate the incident, including ensuring all conference attendees were contacted and given appropriate public health advice.

PHS has worked with those involved to produce this consensus IMT report. This report has taken longer than usual to produce given the complex, multinational nature of the investigation and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The final IMT report details a total of 39 cases, within and outside the UK, that were linked to the Edinburgh conference directly or were close contacts of attendees. The increased* number of cases were identified following extensive investigations after control measures had successfully been put in place.

Consistent with our statement issued on 10 June 2020, the IMT report concludes that the COVID-19 strain associated with the conference accounted for only a minority of detections in Scotland. Furthermore, this strain has not been detected in Scotland since April 2020.

This strongly suggests that the public health measures implemented by the PHS IMT successfully limited the spread of the strain.

* the final figure is higher than referred to before the IMT report was finalised.

Last updated: 06 October 2022