NICOLA Sturgeon has asked Scots to again "make sacrifices" to help beat coronavirus after she announced tough new restrictions. 

In a television address, the First Minister said the sacrifices "are not easy but please believe me when I say they are essential".

New rules will see Scots banned from visiting other people's homes, while pubs, bars and restaurants will close at 10pm from Friday. 

Ms Sturgeon said the last six months have been unprecedented but "we did beat Covid back".

However she said cases are rising again, and in the last three weeks they have almost trebled. 

Addressing the nation, the First Minister said: "So we are once again at a tipping point.

"We must act to get Covid back under control. And protect the things that matter most to us.

"In a global pandemic of a virus with as yet no vaccine, we simply can’t have 100 per cent normality. No country can.

"So we must choose our priorities. Our priorities are saving lives and protecting health

"Keeping schools open. Restarting NHS services. Ensuring care homes are safe. And protecting jobs and livelihoods.

"It is to safeguard these priorities that I must ask all of you again to make sacrifices.

"Sacrifices for our national well-being.

"They are not easy but please believe me when I say they are essential."

Ms Sturgeon said the virus spreads most easily from one household to another.

She said the new homes ban will have exceptions, such as for care of the vulnerable, extended households, childcare and tradespeople.

Scots will still be able to meet outdoors and in pubs and restaurants with one other household, in groups of up to six people. 

Ms Sturgeon said: "And because we know this is especially difficult for children and young people we’ve tried to build in more flexibility for you.

"If you are younger than 12, there are no limits on playing with your friends outdoors.

"And if you are between 12 and 17 you can meet your friends outdoors in groups of six - but you don’t all have to be from just two households."

The First Minister urged Scots to download the Protect Scotland app and remember FACTS – face coverings, avoid crowded areas; clean your hands and surfaces; keep two metre distancing; and self-isolate and get tested if you have symptoms.

She said: "Finally, I know that all of this has been incredibly tough – and six months on it only gets tougher.

"But never forget that humanity has come through even bigger challenges than this one.

"And though it doesn’t feel like it now, this virus will pass.

"It won’t last forever and one day, hopefully soon, we will be looking back on it, not living through it.

"So though we are all struggling with this – and believe me, we are all struggling – let’s pull together.

"Let’s keep going, try to keep smiling, keep hoping and keep looking out for each other.

"Be strong, be kind and let’s continue to act out of love and solidarity.

"I will never find the words to thank all of you enough for the enormous sacrifices you have made so far.

"And I am sorry to be asking for more.

"But a belief I hold on to – and one I am asking you to keep faith with in those moments when it all feels too hard – is this.

"If we stick with it – and, above all, if we stick together – we will get through it."