Nicola Sturgeon defends ‘tough’ new coronvirus restrictions for Scots

Nicola Sturgeon has defended her decision to introduce tougher coronavirus restrictions than in England.

The Scottish First Minister insisted the expert advice she received was that a curfew on pubs alone would not be sufficient to halt rising case numbers.

She refused to directly criticise UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for failing to take action to prevent households from mixing indoors, as she has done.

But she did say she believed governments should “try to co-ordinate as much as possible across the UK”.

Although a 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants will be brought in on both sides of the border, Scots are also being barred from visiting other people in their own home – with some exemptions.

Ms Sturgeon accepted the new restrictions were “tough” and said they had not been introduced lightly.

But speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme she said Scotland and the UK were in a “tough spot”.

Warning that “we are again at a tipping point with Covid”, Ms Sturgeon added: “If we don’t act now, urgently and decisively, then we might find Covid running out of control again.

“The judgment I have made, and it is not an easy one, is if we take tough action now we might actually manage to be under these restrictions for a shorter period of time then we would end up being if we delayed that action.

“So these are tough judgments but I think, given the loss of life we know that Covid can result in, the health damage that it does, we’ve got to be prepared at moments like this, people like me, to take tough decisions and to be prepared to do things even if they are unpopular, for the greater good.

“I can only look at the situation in Scotland and I can only speak for the judgments I am making.

“And my advisers say to me, yes, a curfew on pubs is certainly something that should be done and we have taken that decision, but in and of itself it is not going to be enough to arrest this increase in Covid cases and bring the R number down and bring the epidemic under control again.

“That’s why I made the difficult judgment yesterday to go further.”

HEALTH Coronavirus
HEALTH Coronavirus

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack also addressed the new measures, saying he feels “sorry” for people in parts of Scotland where there are fewer cases of Covid-19 as they have to live with the restrictions.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Jack said: “If you’re an elderly person and you’re not able to have visits and you’re lonely, my sympathy goes out to those people.”

The UK Government minister accepted Ms Sturgeon was entitled to take different decisions from those made south of the border.

But he said the new ban on household visits was “the only part of the restrictions announced yesterday which we haven’t agreed across the UK”.

Mr Jack added: “Pretty much everything else we’re all on the same page and aligned, and I would have preferred, myself, a process that we’ve taken in England which is the local lockdown measures.”