NICOLA Sturgeon has warned house parties pose a "considerable risk" in spreading coronavirus as she expressed concerns over an emerging pattern.

The First Minister appealed to everyone – particularly young people – to follow the "absolutely vital" rules around indoor gatherings. 

She said the Scottish Government did not want to have to reimpose restrictions as it has done in Aberdeen following a Covid-19 cluster.

It came as it emerged the R number for coronavirus in Scotland has risen above 1, indicating the virus is spreading in some areas.

At the daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon said the provisional figure could be as high as 1.3 after many months when the number was below 1, and the virus was in retreat.

However she said that the R, or rate of reproduction, number was less reliable when the overall number of cases was small.

The First Minister said test and protect data had flagged up house parties as a problem.

She warned they pose a "considerable risk", adding: "Please, stick to the rules around indoor household gatherings. 

"No more than eight people from a maximum of three different households should be gathering indoors. 

"Apart from children under 12, people from different households must stay 2m apart from each other and you must wash hands and hard surfaces regularly. 

"I can't make this point strongly enough: these rules should not be seen as optional. They are absolutely vital."

She added: "Clearly, what people do within their own houses is harder for any enforcement action to work against. 

"So more than ever, it relies on the good sense and judgment of all of us. 

"Because the bottom line here is if these rules are not complied with strictly, this virus is going to spread and we have evidence of that already. 

"I don't want us to be in a position of having to put in more restrictions again as we have done already in Aberdeen on the ability of people to meet others indoors.

"So I make a really strong appeal today, particularly to young people – let me stress again, I'm not trying to single out young people or blame young people, I just understand the things that young people with a bit more freedom now as we have started come out of lockdown, want to do – please take great care. 

"House parties really are not sensible things to be doing right now. Keep within the rules about indoor gatherings."