Nicola Sturgeon has warned the Scottish public that it could be faced with a second lockdown over winter if people continue to flout the rules and guidance around Covid-19.
The First Minister urged the public to talk to their family and friends about following the Covid-19 guidance as she said she was feeling a “greater sense of anxiety” around the position of Scotland in regards to the virus compared to the last few months.
In a stark change of emphasis at the end of her daily coronavirus briefing, the First Minister underlined the “fragile state” she believes the country is facing ahead of winter.
She warned a second lockdown was a possibility and said it would be “very hard” to continue relaxing lockdown restrictions if guidance continued to be broken, particularly around indoor gatherings.
Cases of Covid-19 rose to a total of 160, the highest total since May 16 and a further increase on the 123 announced on Sunday.
The increase in cases is not being followed by an increase in the rate of positivity which remains around one per cent and a statistics which Ms Sturgeon said she used as a gauge for the success of the measures tasked to continue the suppression of the virus.
The First Minister said the rise “concerned” her and the Scottish Government are taking the rise “very seriously”.
At the end of her briefing, Ms Sturgeon noted the “really dark moments” during the Covid-19 pandemic and said she had “tried to be frank” with the Scottish people during her daily briefings.
The First Minister said she was now the most worried she has been compared to the last couple of months, and appealed to people to continue following the Covid-19 guidance.
She said: “There is literally not a single day since I think March 1 this year where I have not pored over Covid statistics, considered the Scottish Government’s response and made really difficult decisions about how we try to keep it under control.
"There are not many days that I have not stood here and shared our thinking and conclusions with you.
"There have been some really dark moments along the way since the start of March and more recently there have been moments of greater hope and optimism and I have always tried to be frank with you about my assessments and feelings about the situation that we are in.
"Which is why I feel able to say to you today and I feel it is important to say to you that I feel a greater sense of anxiety today than I have done at any time probably for the last couple of months.
"We are in a fragile position. We have substantially lifted the lockdown restrictions but in doing so we have allowed this virus opportunities to spread and we are trying to keep it under control now.
"Not by very restrictive lockdown but by all of us doing the right thing and having Test and Protect and local health protection teams coming in to contain outbreaks when they happen.”
Ms Sturgeon warned that lockdown may return over winter as it will be “very hard” to keep the virus under control unless the guidance is followed to the letter.
The First Minister urged the public to pass on the warning to friends and family breaking the rules, and said it was “vital” to avoid a repeat of lockdown.
She said: “But unless all of us do the right things, that will be very hard to do on a continuous basis over the weeks and months ahead, particularly as we get into winter.
"I end by asking everybody again to think very carefully about how you’re living your lives at the moment.
"I take no pleasure in asking you to do that but it is vital.
"None of us want to live our lives in this way but by doing that if we keep the virus under control, we are avoiding a much worse outcome which is going back to the more restrictive situation that we saw earlier in the year.
"If there are people you know in your families, your friends, groups in your work network who are not doing all of these things, perhaps take the opportunity just to appeal to them to change their ways.
"We will succeed or fail here in beating this virus collectively and the behaviour of each and everyone of us really matters to the well-being of all of us.”