Nicola Sturgeon blasts ‘dangerous’ Aberdeen revellers breaking social distancing amid Covid-19 outbreak at Hawthorn pub

Ms Sturgeon said the photos that emerged over the weekend made her ‘want to cry’.

The First Minister has heavily criticised scenes of people flouting social distancing rules while socialising at bars across Scotland this weekend, saying they made her “want to cry”.

Photos have emerged showing large groups of people gathered outside at Scottish bars and pubs in recent days, amid a spate of Covid-19 clusters identified by the Scottish government.

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This morning the First Minister retweeted a post by Aberdeen MP Stephen Flynn, in which he said he was “scunnered” by photos of revellers in the city centre on Saturday night.

“Covid-19 has not gone away - as is evident from the cluster linked to The Hawthorn Bar,” he said. “Should act as the wake-up call some folk clearly need.”

The Scottish government confirmed over the weekend that 13 new positive cases of coronavirus have been linked to The Hawthorn Bar in Aberdeen.

Reacting to the photos, Ms Sturgeon told followers on Twitter: “Scenes like these are dangerous, and could easily result in pubs being closed again - which no one wants.”

At an impromptu press briefing this afternoon, Ms Sturgeon said the Hawthorn Bar cluster was the “most significant” of recent outbreaks across Scotland, adding that it was “exactly what we feared when we reopened hospitality.”

The First Minister has heavily criticised scenes of people flouting social distancing rules while socialising at bars across Scotland this weekend, saying they made her “want to cry”. (Photo by Andy Buchanan - WPA POOL/Getty Images)
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“Of course it’s not just this incident in Aberdeen,” she said, “across the country and across social media, we’re seeing evidence of people and it’s largely younger people gathering together with little or no physical distancing in place.

“I’ve seen pictures on social media over this weekend,” she continued, “that not to put too fine a point on it, made me want to cry.”

I know what a hard slog is every single day right now to try to keep this virus under control, and of course members of the public continue to make very hard sacrifices right now,” she said.

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“But every time one person throws caution to the wind and flouts the rules, the reality is, they put all of us at risk.”

“I know this year has been really difficult - the most difficult most of us can ever remember. I know people have missed socialising...but I urge all of you to please follow the rules - not just for yourself...but it’s also about your friends and members of your family. And it’s also about the good of the country and the economy overall.”

Ms Sturgeon confirmed that 18 new cases of coronavirus were identified in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 18,694 in Scotland.

There were no new deaths for the 18th day running, and there were no changes to overall numbers of people in hospital with the virus (265) and in ICU (3).

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