Nicola Sturgeon addressed students affected by the strict new coronavirus restrictions in place during today's coronavirus briefing.

Here is what she said in full:

Let me turn now to the main issue I want to address today.   

I want to send a message directly to university students - and indeed to parents, many of whom will be worried about their children at universities just now.

I’m not a parent but I am the devoted auntie of a boy who has just started university and is living away from home for the first time so I do have some insight into the anxiety that people are feeling right now.

The government is having to make some really tough decisions right now but none of us are immune from the impact of those decisions and we understand how difficult they are for people because we have families as well.  

First thing I want to say direct to students is I’m so sorry that this time in your lives is being made so tough.

I feel for all of you - but especially those of you just starting university and living away from home for the first time.

This is an exciting time in your lives but I can remember from my own experience, that this is also a time of adjustment and probably a bit of homesickness too. That would be the case without Covid, but I’m sure it’s much more difficult given the circumstance you are having to deal with right now.

And I want to also be clear, because I know some of you feel like you are somehow being blamed, you don’t deserve to be facing this - no one does - and it’s not your fault.

But - and this is just as important – this won’t last forever. And the quicker we get Covid back under control, the sooner you will get to enjoy a more normal student life.

So - I know it’s difficult - but please do what’s being asked of you just now.

Because although Covid is nobody’s fault - we all have to play our part in tackling it. And there is nobody across the country that is not touched by that, there are many families who haven’t seen loved ones in care homes for a considerable period of time, there are families across the country that are not able to spend time with each other right now. Everybody is feeling the effects of this but we all have to play a part to get through what we are facing.

There’s been a lot of discussion about the Universities Scotland advice that issued last night. So let me boil it down to the basics of what it is we are asking students to do.

Firstly if you live in student or shared accommodation, please don’t have parties and don’t socialise in your accommodation with people who are not in your household group.

I know the impact of this on students is a bit harder because of your shared living arrangements but this advice is actually no different to what we are asking of the population as a whole - to stay out of each other’s houses - and it’s because we know the virus can spread easily when different households mix together indoors in domestic environments.

And secondly, but just for this weekend, we are asking students to please stay away from pubs, restaurants and cafes.

The reason for this is that there are a number of campus outbreaks across Scotland and we want to do everything we can to stop them spreading further. And staying away from hospitality this weekend is one of the ways in which students can help.

The incubation period of this virus means that the exposure people have had in the last few days means that we will see campus cases continue to rise in the days to come. But if we take steps now to limit the interaction over the next few days we can help stem that flow and make sure outbreaks don’t spread any further. So that’s the reason for that advice this weekend.

After this weekend, we’ll ask the same of you as of everyone else. Try to limit your social interactions in pubs and hospitality but when you do go, you should be in groups of no more than six from a maximum of two households.

We are also asking students to download the Protect Scotland app.  It isn’t mandatory – but it is strongly encouraged, and your university can ask you to do so – because, particularly when you may not know everyone you are meeting, it is an effective way of alerting people that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid. In the last two weeks, more than 800 people have been notified by the app to isolate.

And lastly if you are asked to self-isolate as a student because you have tested positive or are a contact of someone who has, please follow the advice. It is really important.

In all of this, your university has a big responsibility to look after your welfare and make sure you are okay. I have spoken personally this morning to university principals, to stress their responsibilities to you - and I know this is something that they take seriously but it is also something  parents will want to be assured of too.

Student services already have special arrangements in place, including 24-hour helplines, support for food deliveries, and additional mental health counsellors, for those who might need that support.  

I am grateful to all of those – including the many student volunteers - who are helping to provide practical and emotional support in this way.

One final point I want to address today but we’ll say more about this over the weekend. We are aware that for some students who have been asked to self-isolate, they might be finding that situation so difficult that they want to go back to their family home to complete the period of self-isolation.  

Now I’m going to be frank. That is a difficult balancing act because if you go home after you have been asked to self-isolate that will have implications for your family who may also have to self-isolate if oyu test positive. But I wanted to let you know today that we are looking at what might be possible there and it is our aim to issue some further guidance on that over the weekend.

The key point to stress is that help is there for you if you need it just now so if you need it please ask for it. 

The final thing I want to say to students today is thank you. Thank you to all of you, just like everybody else across the country you are bearing a burden that I desperately wish you didn’t have to be bearing right now but you are being part of our collective effort to beat Covid back. And for that you have my thanks and deep appreciation.