Nicola Sturgeon: 'I'm finding it much harder to cope with Covid'

Scotland’s First Minister has revealed she is finding it harder to cope with the Covid restrictions, as she moved to allay people’s “anxieties” over what may happen next as the government grapples with rising case numbers.
First Minister Nicola SturgeonFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Ruling out a return to the kind of lockdown introduced earlier this year as coronavirus swept across Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon said new restrictions would be announced tomorrow, but said “we’re not going back to March”.

At her daily Covid briefing, she said that seven months of dealing with the pandemic had left her “sick and tired” of the virus, but the current situation was “probably the most difficult decision point” reached by the government.

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“Like many other countries, we face a sharply rising rate of infection again,” she said.

“The situation is particularly pronounced in the Central Belt, but it’s important to recognise that cases are rising everywhere across the country and levels of infection in most parts of Scotland are higher than we can be comfortable with.

"Two weeks ago when I announced people would not be able to meet in each others homes we were seeing an average of 285 new cases a day. That figure is now 729. So that shows how the situation has accelerated.”

While she admitted the full impact of the new household restrictions was yet to feed through to the case numbers, the government was receiving “very strong public health advice that action over and above existing restrictions is necessary”.

But she said: “We’re seven months in, we know the ongoing restrictions have an impact on our mental, physical and financial wellbeing and I think people, and include myself in this, are generally finding it much harder to cope now with the implications of it all than they did back in spring.

“Unlike in March, we now have Test and Protect, which is working well and taking a lot of the strain of controlling the virus and while we haven't reached final decisions in what steps we might take next, what we are not proposing to do is another lockdown at this stage, not even on a temporary basis.”

Asked if she was concerned about compliance with restrictions, she said: ”I know how I feel as an individual – I’m sick and tired of Covid. I’m as sick and tired as everybody is.

"I’m not exempt from the restrictions everyone else is under. I’m coming in to work every day, which not everyone can do, but I’ve not seen my family for two, almost three, months – that's hard for all of us.

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“I understand that. I know people are fed up with it and it gets harder for people to stick with it, but the only alternative to sticking with it is allowing it to run out of control again which is not a pleasant thing."

She added: "I know there's a great deal of anxiety right now on top of the fatigue and general exasperation we feel about Covid and what comes next, and I don't mean to underplay the significance of what lies ahead in weeks to come, but I want to remind you we’re not going back to March, we’re determined to hang on to a lot more freedom, but we still have to take measures to keep it under control."

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