HOUSE parties are continuing in Ayrshire with recent cases of coronavirus linked back to social gatherings despite new guidelines.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran say that the virus has been “given a chance to spread” after their Test and Protect team identified cases around social gatherings where the number of people and households is higher than the guidelines set out by the Scottish Government.

The health board have warned those attending social gatherings are putting their family, friends and other close contacts at risk.

In a message they have also reminded communities that breaches of the guidance could lead to local businesses having to close with tougher lockdown restrictions brought in as seen in Glasgow.

Last month a cluster of 22 cases were linked to house parties across the region.

New guidance brought in by the Scottish Government last week has limited the amount of people we can meet with no more than six people from a maximum of two households at a time indoors and outdoors.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran Director of Public Health Lynne McNiven said: “We are at a crucial time locally for controlling the spread of COVID-19. The information we are getting through the contact tracing exercises being carried out by our local Test and Protect team shows that the virus is being given a chance to spread at social gatherings.

“The guidance currently says we can meet with no more than six people from a maximum of two households at a time indoors and outdoors.

“If any one of us breaches this guidance, there is a significant risk that we could make our family, friends and other close contacts unwell.

“We also risk helping to set back the date for the re-opening of our favourite places or causing local businesses to have to close. We don’t want to see local restrictions tightening again, as we’ve seen in some other areas of the country, and we all have a role to play in that.”

Ayrshire’s top cop says police will continue to break-up parties and remind those of the guidance in place.

Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Faroque Hussain, Ayrshire's Divisional Commander, said:“The majority of people have been complying with the law but we will use the powers we have to disperse parties which breach the regulations and will enforce where necessary.

"Our approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance, and encourage compliance, only using enforcement as a last resort."