NICOLA Sturgeon has said that she imagines her loved ones dying when reading out the figures at the daily coronavirus briefings to “humanise” and “never normalise” the tragedy of the pandemic.

In an interview with former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, the First Minister also said the coronavirus lockdown had lowered her tolerance for some of the “nonsense” of “mud-chucking” politics.

Asked about the UK briefings, where Campbell suggested ministers just read numbers without any sadness or notice paid to what they mean, Sturgeon said: “I’ve tried within my own mind not to ever allow it [the death figures] to become normalised.

“At a very early stage, when the numbers of deaths was rising, so big numbers on a daily basis, I remember making a conscious decision to myself, standing at the podium through there, that every day I read out this number I was going to think of people in my own life, people I love that, if they died, would devastate me, in order to humanise it, in order to never forget that behind statistics are human beings.

“I just think we can never normalise what we’ve been through, nor should we, because behind every one of these numbers is a family right now that is grieving the loss of a loved one and we all need to remember that.”

She went on to say that the “absurd and ridiculous statements” about there being no Border between England and Scotland “don’t help anybody”, adding that while a four nations approach to the virus “makes sense” it would require “all four nations being involved in the decision making and that doesn’t always feel how it is in reality”.

“But these are not new problems”, she said: “They just are being seen through a different prism.”

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“I’m not going to come out of this exactly the same as I was when I went into it. I think inevitably it is shifting my perspective on things.

“It’s making me reevaluate what’s important in life and what’s maybe not quite so important and I think it probably is lowering my tolerance to some of the nonsense of politics.

“I’m a politician to my fingertips, I know how important rigorous debate is, the battle of ideas but a lot of modern politics is not really about that, it’s just about chucking mud at each other and forcing yourself to always believe the worst of your opponent.

“I think my tolerance of that, certainly at the moment, is a bit lower than it was previously and who knows I might get over that but I hope not in some ways.”

Sturgeon went on: “Normally in politics you are dealing with a million things at once and always looking for the political angle on things and I think there has been something almost liberating about not doing that, just focusing on this one things, that has a million different elements to it, but just in a very straight-forward sense being determined to do what needs to be done whether it’s popular or unpopular, whether it brings a political advantage or not, just focusing on what needs to be done and having the discipline to do that.”