A TOP government official says a local lockdown could be brought into force in Inverclyde as a result of the cluster of eight new coronavirus cases.

National clinical director Jason Leitch says the measure is being held 'in reserve' amid calls locally for restrictions to be re-imposed on places like pubs and shops.

The Tele revealed yesterday that M&D Green Pharmacy in Port Glasgow town centre was at the centre of the new outbreak.

Senior councillor Chris McEleny says swift action must be taken, with Amazon having also recording a confirmed case at their huge Faulds Park base in Gourock.

Cllr McEleny said: "I would much rather we introduced a local lockdowns now to cope with spikes rather than later when the damage may be lasting and I fear Inverclyde wouldn't recover.

"There should be a lockdown if there is a compelling case that there is community transmission.

"We must keep people safe and protect lives.

"We have a situation where there is a case confirmed in a distribution centre where there are hundreds of people."

Top national official Mr Leitch says a local lockdown would only be used if deemed absolutely necessary.

He added: "If we thought this virus had gone into community transmission mode, like we saw in early and late March, then we would of course do something more dramatic."

Cllr McEleny has meanwhile called for better communication to help suppress local spikes.

He said: "There has to be more local data made available.

"As I said earlier in the pandemic, there are too many stages before it gets fed back to the council.

"We need to know earlier so measures are put in place.

"I have supported the council leader, Councillor Stephen McCabe, in his calls for better reports from the Scottish Government and he has supported me as well whenever I have asked for more testing and deprivation funding.

"If it is made public people can take greater personal responsibility as well."

Meanwhile health board bosses insist they are getting on top of the new local outbreak.

Dr Linda de Caestecker, director of public health, says the cases linked to the pharmacy in John Wood Street is being thoroughly investigated and managed by a health led incident management team who are contacting anyone who may be affected.

She says there is 'no added risk to the wider community' and the pharmacy remains open for business.

Health and council environmental health staff are working with the pharmacy to trace any close contacts of the cases.

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde says 'all appropriate measures are in place and those using the pharmacy or getting their medication from the pharmacy can be reassured that it is safe'.

Dr de Caestecker said: “All those who have tested positive are being managed and we are working with a number of businesses including a pharmacy to contact trace any close contacts.

“None of the cases are experiencing anything but mild symptoms.

"Each of these cases is being managed and followed up in detail, and all of them are isolating at home.

“All healthcare settings that these cases attended during their infectious period have been identified, assessed and are being supported with control measures, and anyone who may have been exposed to these cases are being given appropriate advice.

“We want to reassure local people that there is no risk to the wider community and anyone affected will be contacted through the Test and Protect service.

“We also want to reassure community pharmacies and general practices in the area that no additional precautions are required beyond those already in place to protect patients and staff."

M&D Green Pharmacy says all patients and customers who have visited their premises at John Wood Street recently for prescriptions, advice or to make a purchase are 'not at risk and should continue to follow national guidance'.

In a statement they said: "We would like to advise our patients that some staff working in the M&D Green Pharmacy at John Wood Street, Port Glasgow have tested positive for COVID-19.

"We have been working with Health Protection Scotland and environmental health officers, who are satisfied with the infection control measures we have in place and have immediately implemented the minor additional actions recommended."

A deep clean has been carried out at the premises and a replacement staff team have been drafted in, with screens installed at the counter and everyone wearing PPE."

The pharmacy added: "We have been reassured by the local outbreak management team that these measures allow us to continue to provide the full range of Pharmaceutical services without any risk to the public."