Businesses claim staff got ill following controversial Nike convention in Edinburgh

Edinburgh MP has said Nicola Sturgeon has not been ‘honest with the people of Scotland’.
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Two Scottish firms have revealed staff developed coronavirus symptoms days after a Nike conference in Edinburgh.

According to the Scottish Mail on Sunday, the companies believe staff became unwell after coming into contact with delegates at the event at the Hilton Carlton Hotel in February.

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Nike Edinburgh conference was ‘Ground Zero for COVID-19 outbreak in Scotland'
Nicola Sturgeon has come under fire for the Scottish Government's handling of the Nike conference outbreak.Nicola Sturgeon has come under fire for the Scottish Government's handling of the Nike conference outbreak.
Nicola Sturgeon has come under fire for the Scottish Government's handling of the Nike conference outbreak.
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One of the companies is a digital marketing business, understood to share a Glasgow office building with Nike, and the other is an Edinburgh kilt hire shop, which fitted ten event goers for outfits.

The Scottish Government came under fire this week, with claims it covered up the outbreaks arising from the conference, now being referred to as Scotland’s Covid-19 ‘ground zero’.

Management at the two affected companies said they were not warned about the outbreak and there was no 'contact tracing' of staff.

Today, Labour MP Ian Murray, Edinburgh South, described the Scottish Government’s ‘cover-up’ of the outbreak as a ‘national scandal’.

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He said: “The reason the public should have been told about this at the time is precisely because of the potential impact on workers and businesses.

“People were kept in the dark by the Scottish Government and only know about the Nike outbreak because of a media investigation.

“If the Scottish Government had its way, this would remain a secret. Nicola Sturgeon is guilty of failing to be honest with the people of Scotland.”

Official confirmation of the country’s first Covid-19 case, involving a hospital patient Tayside, was announced publicly on March 2 - and the first death in Scotland was reported by NHS Lothian eleven days later.

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However, the BBC’s recent Disclosure programme claimed the outbreak started after the virus was brought to Scotland during the final days of February.

The programme claimed one of 70 delegates from around the world attending the Nike conference brought the virus into Edinburgh.

Following the BBC programme, the First Minister confirmed she had been told delegates had tested positive, but that ‘patient confidentiality’ meant the news was not made public.

This week, the First Minister said ‘all appropriate steps were taken’ following the outbreak and any suggestion of a cover-up was ‘complete and utter nonsense’.

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Speaking to the Scottish Mail on Sunday, digital marketing boss David Hamilton said he and his colleagues shared communal spaces at the conference.

He said: 'I found out about this through the BBC documentary. There was a whole set of activity going on, and no one had the courtesy to even let us know.

'We had about three staff who were certain they got coronavirus but I think that extends to about four or five. One was close to being hospitalised.

'If Nike knew what was going on, they should have been duty-bound to at least inform companies sharing the same space. You would think common decency would have led you to that.

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'We have a very small, shared lift. You'd very rarely be alone in there. Buttons, handrails... it could have easily been on there.

'No one from the Scottish Government got in touch with anybody in our office.”

A spokesperson for the Edinburgh kilt hire shop, also understood to be affected by the outbreak, is reported as saying an employee had to ‘take time off work due to flu-like symptoms’ having fitted delegates.

It is understood other staff also became ill with coronavirus symptoms.