Lloyds staff not alerted after close contact with Edinburgh Nike convention delegates

Twenty of the bank’s employees shared hotel facilities with delegates attending the Nike convention in Edinburgh.
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Lloyds Banking Group was not contacted by the Scottish government after 20 of its employees came into close contact with the Nike delegates at the centre of Edinburgh’s early Covid-19 outbreak, reports Sky News.

More than 70 Nike workers from around the world showed up for a conference at the Hilton Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh on February 26 and 27.

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At least 25 attendees were subsequently found to have contracted coronavirus - including eight in Scotland.

More than 70 Nike workers from around the world showed up for a conference at the Hilton Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh on February 26 and 27.More than 70 Nike workers from around the world showed up for a conference at the Hilton Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh on February 26 and 27.
More than 70 Nike workers from around the world showed up for a conference at the Hilton Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh on February 26 and 27.

It is understood that the Lloyds employees, also staying at the hotel, shared lunch and refreshment facilities with the Nike delegates, including touchscreen coffee machines.

Two weeks later, the Scotsman reported that the banking group had closed its Citymark office and told staff to self-isolate after one employee tested positive for the virus.

None of the Lloyds employees exposed at the Hilton are thought to have reported symptoms of Covid-19.

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It comes after the Scottish government was forced to defend its handling of the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, after two other companies said they believed their staff fell ill after contact with Nike delegates.

One company, a digital marketing business based in Glasgow, shares an office building with Nike staff, and the other - a hire shop - fitted several of the conference attendees for kilts.

According to the Scottish Daily Mail, both businesses said they were never warned about the outbreak, and that there was no contact tracing of their employees.

Speaking yesterday at the First Minister’s daily briefing, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the government had followed “all the proper clinical-led standard protocols.

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“If we are not told by someone all the contacts that they have had, we cannot trace. We can only trace on the basis of what the trigger case says,” she added.

But Ian Murray, Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary and Edinburgh South MP, called the Scottish government’s response “a cover up”, and described the handling of the outbreak as “a national scandal.”

“The Scottish Government still refuses to accept responsibility for this cover-up and its impact,” he said, “with Jeane Freeman trying to point the finger of blame at those who attended.

“The explanation from Ms Freeman is surely the very reason the public should have been told.

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“If tracing is based on recall of everyone you have been in contact with then that’s ineffective, so you have to inform the wider public.”

Commenting on its handling of the Nike convention outbreak, a spokesperson for the Scottish government said: “All appropriate steps were taken to ensure public health was protected.

“All of the cases linked to this event were assessed by their close contact, or contact with conference delegates who tested positive after the event so public health authorities were satisfied that there was minimal infection risk.

“NHS Lothian and Edinburgh City Council worked closely with the conference venue to provide advice for close contacts of delegates and infection prevention and control considerations.

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“Given that there were cases in England, Public Health England was also part of the Incident Management team, which was provided with full details surrounding the circumstances of the infections.

“The Scottish Government has been entirely consistent in its handling and publication of information relating to positive cases of Covid-19 in Scotland.”

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