Nine people have contracted coronavirus so far in a cross-border cluster of cases, Scotland’s national clinical director has said.

Professor Jason Leitch said the individuals involved are from more than one household, and do not all work together.

He said while the cluster – which has emerged in Dumfries and Galloway and the north-west of England – “feels a little bit dramatic”, it should not be taken out of perspective.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, he said the cluster “includes people who work and live in different countries, as is quite common along the border of Scotland and England”, which “makes it complex”.

He said the cluster has garnered a lot of attention because it is the first such incident of its kind, and he added: “This will be not common, but it will happen as we come out of the pandemic.

“This just feels very important because its first.”

But he stressed: “It is not at the stage where we are worried about community transmission, we don’t think the virus is suddenly exposed and out in the wild, but we want to reach the end of the chains of transmission.

HEALTH Coronavirus Scotland
(PA Graphics)

“It is important to keep it in perspective. It is not a national outbreak, it is not 300 national outbreaks. It is geographically limited and it is numerically limited.

“We haven’t been taken aback by the fact there is an outbreak, we have set in place outbreak management exactly as you would expect us to do.”

A cross-border incident management team, involving public health authorities from both Scotland and England, met on Wednesday as part of the response to the outbreak.