NICOLA Sturgeon has stressed that decisions taken to try and suppress the spread of Covid-19 are “doing somebody harm” - but the tough choices are made to “minimise the overall harm”.

The First Minster said that the particular aspects of a public inquiry into the Covid-19 crisis will be set out by the inquiry itself and will not be directed from the Scottish Government.

Ms Sturgeon was responding to calls from the Scottish Human Rights Commission and Scottish Labour that the decision to allow students to return to campuses should form part of that inquiry.

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Speaking at her daily media briefing, she told The Herald: “A public inquiry, in the fullness of time, should look at all aspects of pandemic handling.

“We will set a remit for the inquiry when we get to that point and it will be for the inquiry to decide what particular aspects they want to look at. That is right and proper.

“I’ve never tried to say on anything that we are infallible. All governments have made mistakes, we’ve made mistakes, I have made mistakes.”

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Ms Sturgeon stressed that there are “no risk-free options” when decisions are taken on trying to migitate the impacts of the destructive virus.

She added: “There’s no 100 per cent obviously right option and there’s no 100 per cent obviously wrong option – everything is a balance of harm.”

The First Minister said that a balance was struck between the harm from the virus and the wellbeing of students when campuses were given the green light to re-open.

She said: “Yes, bringing students back to university creates risks that we have to mitigate – but keeping all students away from university creates risks and harms as well.

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“You are depriving young people of anything approaching a normal educational experience. Those of us who have been at university know that being at university is not just about the academic learning, it’s not just about the lectures and tutorials – it's about the friends you make, the networks and maybe the experiences you have around that.”

Ms Sturgeon added: “Whatever you do in trying to mitigate the risk of a pandemic, this is the hardest thing, this is the thing that weighs of my mind day and night, is you know you’re doing somebody harm somewhere, but it’s just about trying to minimise the overall harm you are doing.

“It’s not a particularly edifying position as a decision-maker to be in.”