06:14 GMT05 December 2020
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    The first confirmed case of coronavirus in Scotland was first reported on 1 March at Tayside. A BBC documentary, however, revealed that the disease was spread among attendees of a Nike Conference at the Hilton Hotel in Edinburgh with 8 out of the 25 confirmed to have contracted the disease being resident in the country.

    Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray has demanded answers from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over an outbreak of coronavirus at a Nike Conference in Edinburgh.

    The conference by Nike was hosted at a capital hotel in February and attended by delegates from all over the world yet the fact that 25 guests were later confirmed to have contracted coronavirus was not revealed to the public until this week.

    Health officials had been aware of the outbreak since 2 March but no information was released publicly

    Murray, who is Scotlands sole remaining Labour MP, issued a letter to the SNP leader asking for further details after Sturgeon had responded to the inquiries during a press briefing.

    "You said that you are satisfied that all necessary steps were taken", Murray wrote in his letter. "I don’t doubt this to be the case, but how many of the conference attendees were in touch with the wider public?"

    He asked for clarification over how many of the attendees of conference, which he dubbed "ground zero", used local transport, shops, restaurants, bars, taxis, the airport, trains, "and other local services".

    "Unfortunately, I believe your initial response to some of these questions at your daily press conference failed to provide the clear answers that people deserve", he said.

    "Firstly, you dismissed concerns about these revelations as being ‘politicised’. It is more important than ever that government decisions during a health pandemic are scrutinised and that ministers are held to account.

    "That is not ‘politicising’ an issue – it is a vital aspect of our democracy", he added.

    In response to claims by the first minister that they did not reveal information due to patient confidentiality, Murray said that it would not be necessary to release names and personal information to inform the public that there had been cases of coronavirus in Edinburgh.

    He stressed that the "cover-up" of the event indicates that the Scottish government was too slow in introducing quarantine measures and that if the information had been available at the time "we may have been able to enter lockdown earlier and save more lives".

    "Not only would this have made any restrictions more justifiable to the public, it would have allowed independent expert scientists and researchers to make their own recommendations", he said.

    ​The letter follows the daily press conference held by Sturgeon on Tuesday where she rejected the accusations that the government was involved in a cover-up.

    ​Her comments follow a BBC investigation highlighting the outbreak at the Nike conference at Hilton Carlton Hotel in the Scottish capital.

    Despite knowing about cases of Covid-19 in Edinburgh since February, the capital played host to the Scotland v France (Six nations) rugby game at Murrayfield Stadium on 8 March, attended by 67,144 people.

    Tags:
    coronavirus, COVID-19, Nicola Sturgeon, Labour Party
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