Nicola Sturgeon has spoken about the “horrendously difficult” decisions she is having to make to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Hours ahead of new measures affecting the hospitality sector coming into place, the First Minister admitted: “I hate every aspect of what we are doing right now with every fibre of my being.”
But with six further coronavirus deaths recorded in Scotland in the last 24 hours, she warned the action is necessary to avoid more fatalities.
The latest rules, announced amid mounting concern over growing numbers of Covid-19 cases, involve pubs and licensed restaurants in five health board areas across most of central Scotland being forced to close for all but takeaway service.
The temporary restrictions – which will be in place from 6pm on Friday until October 25 – also mean pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes elsewhere in Scotland can only operate indoors between 6am and 6pm, with alcohol sales banned.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I don’t want to be doing any of this, but like countries all over the world right now, these are unavoidable decisions to try to get and keep this virus under control.
“It is horrendously difficult for decision makers, but more so for the people who live with the consequences of the decisions.
“We’re trying to do it as best we can.
“But don’t forget why we’re doing it, because if we don’t make these tough decisions, this virus will run unchecked, more people will die.
“There is no alternative, because if we don’t take these steps… I will be standing here in a week, in two weeks, in a month, and the numbers that I am reading out today for people dying will seem like nothing.
“And I don’t want to do that if there are things we can do to stop it.
“This is a global pandemic of a horrible virus that can kill and make people seriously ill. We’ve got to try to stop it.
“It is tough, it is horrendously tough I know that, but we have no alternative right now and I am afraid that is just the reality.”