First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made an emotional plea to Scotland to stick to the new coronavirus guidelines as the country approaches “a tipping point.”
She described the last six months as the “hardest many of us have ever lived through” and highlighted the fact that the virus has been suppressed well since it peaked in spring.
However, with winter just round the corner, she urged the people of Scotland to continue to abide by the guidelines as the country “will get through it.”
She said: “We must act to get Covid back under control and protect the things that matter most to us.
“In a global pandemic of a virus with as yet no vaccine, we simply can’t have 100% normality. No country can.
“So we must choose our priorities which are saving lives and protecting health, keeping schools open, restarting NHS services, ensuring care homes are safe and protecting jobs and livelihoods.
“It is to safeguard these priorities that I must ask all of you again to make sacrifices.
“Sacrifices for our national well-being.
“They are not easy but please believe me when I say they are essential.”
New restrictions have been announced for Scotland.
From Friday, there will be a national 10pm curfew for hospitality premises.
From tomorrow, people are being asked not to visit other households, due to how easily the virus spreads there.
Exceptions to the rule include caring for the vulnerable, extended households, non-cohabiting couples, childcare and tradespeople.
The changes only impact meeting in people’s homes, with regulations for outdoor and public indoor meetings remaining the same.
Children under 12 will have no limits on playing with friends outdoors and those aged between 12 and 17 can meet their friends outdoors in groups of six with no limit on households.
Ms Sturgeon thanked the public for their efforts over the last six months, saying that now the country was in a stronger position to battle the virus.
Despite today feeling like “a step backwards” she assured the public that mitigations are in place to make sure the virus will not overwhelm Scotland.
She said: “Our Test & Protect system is working well – tracing contacts and breaking chains of transmission.
“We have much more information on how and where the virus spreads.
“And we know what we need to do to protect ourselves and others and all of us have a part to play.”
Ms Sturgeon asked everyone to follow the new rules, download the Protect Scotland app and remember FACTS- face coverings, avoid crowded areas; clean your hands and surfaces; keep two metre distancing; and self-isolate and get tested if you have symptoms.
To conclude, she admitted that the new restrictions will make life incredibly tough, but that Scotland will come through it stronger.
She said: “Finally, I know that all of this has been incredibly tough – and six months on it only gets tougher.
“But never forget that humanity has come through even bigger challenges than this one and though it doesn’t feel like it now, this virus will pass.
“It won’t last forever and one day, hopefully soon, we will be looking back on it, not living through it.
“So though we are all struggling with this – and believe me, we are all struggling – let’s pull together.
“Let’s keep going, try to keep smiling, keep hoping and keep looking out for each other.
“Be strong, be kind and let’s continue to act out of love and solidarity.
“I will never find the words to thank all of you enough for the enormous sacrifices you have made so far and I am sorry to be asking for more.
“But a belief I hold on to – and one I am asking you to keep faith with in those moments when it all feels too hard – is this.
“If we stick with it – and, above all, if we stick together – we will get through it.”