FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called off SNP and Yes Scotland campaigning in efforts to delay the coronavirus outbreak.

The SNP leader wrote to members earlier to inform them of the change and called on them to take time to check in with vulnerable members of their community. 

In an email to party members, Sturgeon wrote: "As efforts to delay the spread of COVID-19 virus are stepped up, everyone needs to do everything they can to avoid contact with others.

"Obviously for our movement, that means suspending all campaigning - cancelling any planned social events and meetings must only be held if using remote technologies."

She went on to appeal to members regarding helping out elderly and vulnerable people amid the crisis.

She said: "As First Minister, I need your help too. I am asking each of you to now focus on looking out for your family, friends and neighbours - paying particular attention to the elderly or those who have underlying health problems.

"We are the largest political campaigning network in Scotland, with volunteers living in every neighbourhood. We have a big part to play.

"Together we can make sure we are looking out for those around us. Together we can care for those who are elderly and vulnerable."

Sturgeon went on to ask members to stay in touch with those vulnerable people via the phone, post or online; offer to help run errands like grocery shopping or picking up medications for those in self-isolation; encouraging people to stay active and keep moving when they're stuck at home; and consider creating WhatsApp or Facebook groups in local communities to help co-ordinate local resilience efforts.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon tells Scots 'We will get through this'

The First Minister concluded: "I'll be in touch with further updates in the days and weeks ahead.

"Let's do all we can to rise to this challenge.

"Let’s ensure those in our communities who need our support most are not left to cope alone."

Currently, anyone experiencing symptoms - coughing and/or a fever - is being told to self-isolate for seven days if they live alone. However if you are in a household of more than one person, all members of that household must self-isolate for 14 days if one person begins to show symptoms. 

On top of those instructions, the public is being urged to avoid crowded public spaces like restaurants, clubs, bars and pubs and avoid non-essential social contact. Elderly and vulnerable people will soon be given specific instructions in terms of protecting their health.

The First Minister and Prime Minister will each provide updates later on as part of their new daily press briefings.