'Pain in the neck' to follow Covid-19 guidelines says Nicola Sturgeon

The First Minister said she hoped people were still listening to her calls to be cautious due to the virus.

Nicola Sturgeon said following the rules is a "pain in the neck".
Nicola Sturgeon said following the rules is a "pain in the neck".

Nicola Sturgeon has rejected the suggestion that people have stopped listening to her warnings about the potential dangers of Covid-19 despite new clusters being linked to social gatherings indoors.

The First Minister was speaking at her daily coronavirus briefing said she had found it more difficult to abide by the guidance in her own life as more normality returns to daily life.

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She had earlier appealed to those who were not following the guidance to stick by the rules, admitting they were “not easy”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “These rules are not easy - I really do understand that. But not sticking to them is presenting perhaps one of our biggest risks of outbreaks occurring at this time.

“So I can’t stress enough how important it is that we all do abide by and comply with these rules. Though I don't want to alarm anybody, I do want people to take notice – in fact I need people to take notice.”

Asked whether she believed people are still listening to her warnings, especially after testimony from the chief executive of the Scottish courts and tribunals service who had said even judges had become complacent, the First Minister said it was a “pain in the neck” to follow the measures.

She said: “I hope people are listening. Don’t get me wrong, I understand as people’s kids go back to school and as more people go back to work I’m sure people watching the hour long briefing every day, there are not as many people doing that every day as was the case at the start because real life has started to intrude again which is hopefully a good thing.

"I think people generally are listening and I think people want to do the right thing but it gets more difficult.

"I am standing here as First Minister and as difficult as I keep saying I know it is to believe, politicians are human beings too and I know in my own life how much more difficult it gets actually as more normality comes back into to life to remember to do the abnormal things like keeping two metres apart from other households or washing your hands all the time.

"As part of our ongoing considerations we will consider issues of compliance and consider whether things that we have previously advised people on a voluntary guidance basis to do should instead become more mandatory.

"We don’t rule that out because it is so important that we retain high compliance with these measures or we will see more clusters and we will see more outbreaks and the risk is those outbreaks will sooner or later will seep into wider community transmission.

"It is a pain in the neck for all of us right now but I am afraid there is no alternative to doing this otherwise we will see this situation become more difficult again than it will otherwise have to be.”

Interim chief medical officer Gregor Smith added that there is a “real risk” of a return to lockdown if people continue to become more complacent and added a further warning to the First Minister's that those attending a house party are at a “considerable risk” of infection if someone with the virus attends.

He said: “It loves indoor settings, particularly indoor settings where people congregate closely together.

"One of the real features we are starting to see and the learning from these outbreak management so far is that there’s some common features we’ve seen across a lot of the outbreaks.

"People are coming together in really crowded situations indoors, that might be house parties or in a hospitality setting and the social distancing that we are still recommending just hasn’t taken place."

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