First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has told the public that coronavirus advice should be treated as a set of rules and “shouldn’t be seen as optional”.
The warning comes as the number of deaths in Scotland from Covid-19 has risen to 10.
The First Minister said guidance on social distancing will help to stop the spread of the virus, while decreasing pressure on the NHS.
Speaking to Good Morning Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said: “I want to be very clear to people, the advice that is being given to people is not to be seen as optional.
“Consider it a set of rules that is to be followed, because it is about helping us do these key, critical things, slow down the spread, reduce the peak impact of this, which is so important in making sure that our National Health Service doesn’t become overwhelmed and ultimately it will save lives and it will save, potentially, a lot of lives.”
The First Minister also warned those flouting the social distancing measures, with reports suggesting high numbers of people in parks and beaches across Scotland over the weekend, that an overwhelmed NHS will lead to people dying “needlessly and avoidably”.
She added: “That is what we’re trying to prevent.”
On Sunday, the Scottish Government announced 416 cases had been confirmed north of the border, but the First Minister confirmed this figure was vastly different from the true number of cases.
Ms Sturgeon also reiterated warnings to younger people during the pandemic, claiming there could be a “sense of invincibility”, adding: “You can’t guarantee that you won’t get this virus, you can’t guarantee you won’t get seriously ill if you get it.”
She continued: “Even if that was true, you will be at risk of passing it on to others, particularly the most vulnerable.”
Meanwhile, the First Minister urged the UK Government and EU to set aside Brexit talks for an indefinite period to focus on tackling the outbreak.
She said: “The negotiations around the new relationship haven’t yet really got off the ground and certainly haven’t got anywhere near concluding.
“I think all of that should be suspended and put to one side – I can’t say for how long, for as long as necessary.”
She added: “I’m a politician, I’ve argued for independence all my life, but right now I’m a First Minister for every person in Scotland, trying to steer us through the biggest crisis of our lifetimes.
“That’s the only thing that matters to me right now. It’s all I’m focused on and I think that should be the case of every leader.”