Nicola Sturgeon has accepted that the latest coronavirus restrictions may feel like a “step backwards”, but urged Scots to stick with them anyway, insisting they “will make a difference”.
The Scottish First Minister addressed the nation after she announced a ban on indoor household visits and a curfew for pubs and restaurants.
It came as part of a package of measures to try to stop coronavirus from “spiralling out of control” in Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The last six months have been unprecedented.
“They’ve been the hardest many of us have ever lived through.
“But through our collective efforts across Scotland, we did beat Covid back.
“As a result – although too much heartbreak has been endured and too many families are grieving – many lives were also saved.
“But as we enter winter, and with many lockdown restrictions now thankfully lifted, the challenge is once again getting harder.”
She added: “Now, for everyone, adults and children, I know that today must feel like a step backwards.
“But please know that thanks to all your efforts over the last six months, we are in a much stronger position than in the spring.
“Cases are rising but less rapidly than back then.
“Our Test and Protect system is working well – tracing contacts and breaking chains of transmission.
“We have much more information on how and where the virus spreads.
“We know what we need to do to protect ourselves and others – and all of us have a part to play.”
In addition to the ban on visiting others inside their homes, she said there will be a “strict nationwide curfew” for pubs and restaurants, starting at 10pm on Friday.
People are also advised not to share car journeys with anyone from outside their household.
Regulations enforcing the changes will come into place from Friday, but Ms Sturgeon urged Scots to comply from Wednesday.
Some have questioned why pubs are still open when cases of the virus are spreading rapidly – 383 more people have tested positive in Scotland in the last 24 hours, with one further death – but the First Minister said the Scottish Government has a duty to balance action to curb the virus with the need to protect businesses.