Transmission rate of COVID-19 within gyms and self catering accommodation: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

You asked for the transmission rate of Covid infection from gyms and also from self catering accommodation.


It is impossible to say with any degree of certainty where or when a person contracts COVID-19 so it is not possible to provide information like this. What we can do is retrace the steps of positive cases to understand where and when they have interacted with people in the week prior to their diagnosis. Unless we are able to identify another positive case they have interacted with, it is unlikely that we will be able to identify which interaction led to the transmission.

What we do know is that once a person contracts COVID-19 it is highly likely that it will spread amongst the household. With that in mind we need to limit opportunities for non-essential interactions between households and that is what has driven the current restrictions, including the single-household restrictions within private homes and in self-catering accommodation. Evidence has indicated that the mixing of different households indoors carries a number of risks, therefore reducing the level of interaction among different households, particularly within unregulated environments, will help drive down transmission and help suppress the virus. Please see the Coronavirus evidence paper produced by the Chief Medical Officer, Chief Nursing Officer and National Clinical Director for further detail Coronavirus (COVID-19): evidence paper - October 2020 - (

Contacts are traced from information collected and made available to Test and Protect by Incident Management Teams. This allows Test and Protect to contact those who may have been exposed to the virus in a particular setting, and request them to take appropriate steps to prevent potential onward spread.

Public Health Scotland has produced a table of settings and events that index cases have attended over the previous 7 days. This is based on interviews conducted with cases identified in the Case Management System and involves cases recalling where they have been in the 7 days prior to symptom onset (or date of test if asymptomatic).

COVID-19 statistical report 16 December 2020 - Data & intelligence from PHS (

However, Public Health Scotland cannot infer from the figures whether a specific setting or an event indicates where the COVID-19 transmission took place. This is because cases may have attended multiple settings or events within a short space of time, some of which may be low risk settings and events where it is highly improbable that transmission took place. In addition, it is possible that even though a case visited a few settings and events, transmission may have taken place within their home setting.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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