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Coronavirus: Sturgeon warns of 'difficult days' amid compulsory closures

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media captionNicola Sturgeon: "Covid-19 is the biggest challenge of our lifetimes"

The Scottish people are facing the "biggest challenge of our lifetimes" in the fight against coronavirus, Nicola Sturgeon has warned.

The first minister said there would be "difficult days ahead" as she confirmed compulsory closures of restaurants, cafes, pubs, gyms and cinemas.

But she said the crisis would pass if people followed health advice and look out for each other.

She spoke shortly after Boris Johnson ramped up social distancing measures.

He ordered pubs and restaurants to shut while the chancellor announced a raft of new financial measures to help businesses and employees.

In her speech, Ms Sturgeon warned that the number of Covid-19 cases was "set to rise sharply".

She urged people to follow social distancing advice to save lives and reduce pressure on the NHS.

'Health, love and solidarity'

And she addressed grandparents and children directly in a moving message.

"To older people - we are asking you to stay away from your grandkids, from the people you love," she said. "That's hard.

"But it is for your protection - so you can stay around to see them grow up.

"To children - I know this is a strange time. You're away from school, and won't be able to spend as much time with friends.

"The adults around you are probably feeling a bit anxious too. So help them. Follow their advice. Study and do your homework. But don't forget to have fun. And wash your hands."

The number of positive cases in Scotland has risen to 322, a rise of 56 from Thursday. The number of deaths remains at six.

Ms Sturgeon added: "This crisis is reminding us just how fragile our world is. But it is also reminding us what really matters - health, love, solidarity.

"With compassion and kindness - and with the dedication and expertise of our NHS - we can and we will get through this."

Ms Sturgeon earlier told a media briefing that she understood they were asking people to "fundamentally change the way we live our lives".

She warned young people the advice to limit socialising "is not optional".

And she was concerned that young people would be disappointed that they will not be able to meet friends over the weekend.

"But again I cannot be clearer," she said. "Please do not think this advice just applies to other people and not to you."

The public have been asked to reduce social contact, work from home and stay away from crowded places.

Those who are most vulnerable should stay at home as much as possible.

The first minister said she understood people did not like to be told what to do by politicians.

But she said: "Believe me when I say this is vital. It is vital for your own protection, it is vital for the protection of your loved ones, particularly the older and more vulnerable people.

"It is vital for the protection of our NHS and its ability to care for those who will need it in the weeks to come. It is vital for the protection of all of us and it is vital to help us save lives."

Coronavirus in Scotland. .  .

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