The north-east has had more new coronavirus cases in the first nine days of August than it did during June and July combined.
A total of 213 new cases have been confirmed in the NHS Grampian area since the start of the month, following the spike linked to a number of city bars.
And that figure has now topped the total number of new cases which were detected in Grampian in the whole of June and July which saw 145 and 32 cases respectively – a total of 177.
Despite the recent surge in cases, Professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University, urged people not to worry.
He said: “I don’t think there’s any need to worry. The numbers are still quite small, relatively speaking. We’re in a sort of good place in a way, despite the set back.
“I’m still reasonably optimistic we can make very, very good progress in the next two or three months by really getting that virus level right down and hopefully to close to zero before Christmas.
“I’m on record as saying that, and I stick by it.”
Prof Pennington added: “It does raise the question about pubs, unfortunately. How long are we going to have to keep them closed in Aberdeen?
“They are a hotspot for the virus, if it gets in there.
“I’m not worried about the schools going back as being a problem, so long as they’ve got good track and trace in schools in case there’s a problem.
“I don’t expect that there will be a problem, because all the information is pointing to children not being good spreaders of the virus, but we’ve learned a bad lesson from the pubs.
“I don’t see schools being anywhere near the same risk areas as pubs.
“We want to keep those figures down, and the only way we can do that is by really jumping on areas where the virus likes to get about, and unfortunately pubs is one of them, so it may be a while before pubs can go back.”
It comes as the eight Aberdeen FC players who broke lockdown rules, issued a joint statement identifying themselves and apologising for their actions.
Bruce Anderson, Craig Bryson, Sam Cosgrove, Michael Devlin, Jonny Hayes, Matthew Kennedy, Dylan McGeouch and Scott McKenna admitted they made a “huge error of judgement”.
Prof Pennington said: “It is very disappointing because they are role models.
“I think there is a general issue about younger people, they know they’re not going to be seriously affected by the virus, unlike the over 60s, and some of them are going to take a risk.
“The trouble is they might act as a source of the virus for older folk, and we might see people going back into hospital.
“So far it hasn’t happened, let’s hope that continues.”
Meanwhile north-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald urged people to co-operate with contact-tracers.
He said: “These are tough times for Aberdeen and Grampian.
“After having fewer cases on average than most of Scotland for most of the lockdown, we now have a local outbreak and a local lockdown. We need the NHS to deploy enough testing and tracing staff to end the outbreak as soon as possible.
“People who are contacted also need to give the contact-tracers their full co-operation.”
NHS Grampian statistics indicate the Aberdeen Covid-19 cluster has now reached 134 cases, with 728 confirmed close contacts identified.
Susan Webb, director of public health for NHS Grampian said: “The health protection and Test and Protect teams have worked throughout the weekend to interview the detected cases and establish who their close contacts are.
“This is happening rapidly and I want to thank them for their incredibly hard work.
“I also want to acknowledge again our gratitude for the support and co-operation of the cases themselves. The information they are providing is critical to our investigation.
“We all need to take personal responsibility for our behaviour. Sticking with the government guidance keeps ourselves, our friends and family, and the wider population of Grampian, safe.
“Thorough and regular handwashing with water and soap, observing physical distancing, using face coverings where these are required, and avoiding crowded places are all vital.
“People in Aberdeen should observe the enhanced restrictions covering the city.
“Finally, anyone who develops the recognised symptoms of Covid-19 – however mild they might be – should self-isolate immediately and arrange a test.”