SCOTS have been urged to avoid busy Boxing Day sales amid fears over the spread of coronavirus

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the sales are notoriously crowded and nothing on offer is worth the risk of catching the virus. 

Her comments were backed by Jason Leitch, Scotland's national clinical director, who admitted such a stance may not be popular with retailers.

Ms Freeman was asked about the issue during the Scottish Government's regular coronavirus briefing. 

She said: "The simple thing I'd say is avoid crowded places. We keep saying that. 

"The Boxing Day sales are notoriously crowded places. Please avoid crowded places. 

"There can be nothing in those sales that is worth that risk, so please don't take it."

Mr Leitch added: "I had written down online and underlined it three times.

"That may not be popular with retailers, and I'm deeply sorry, but it is risky to go to the crowds. 

"So please try and avoid that, on Boxing Day or tomorrow, avoid it at any time, particularly when you know it's going to be busy – and if it's busy, leave."

Ms Freeman later continued: "Any shop that is crowded – don't go, and if you do go and you find that it's crowded, please don't go in; leave.

"That's not new advice. That's been our advice for some weeks now. 

"It's about avoiding crowded places, because where there are crowded places then that's where the virus has yet another excellent chance to move from one person to another."