PIERS Morgan praised Nicola Sturgeon’s “empathy” this morning after she announced new coronavirus restrictions across Scotland in an effort to slow the spread of the illness.

The First Minister said yesterday that people would be banned from entering others' houses, while pubs, bars and restaurants would face a 10pm curfew.

In Northern Ireland, leaders have also banned the mixing of households in private dwellings. However England and Wales have not announced such a rule.

Last night the Prime Minister gave a televised address on the rule changes in England, which was followed by a statement from the First Minister on the new restrictions in Scotland.

Asked about the mental health impact the restrictions could have, Sturgeon explained that the ban on going into others’ homes is “really tough”, and a decision she has not taken lightly.

She stressed the Scottish Government has been “really careful” to be flexible in the rules – maintaining extended household groups and allowing for informal childcare to take place.

“If we don’t act now urgently and decisively, then we might find Covid running out of control again so the judgement I’ve made and it’s not an easy one, is that if we take tough action now we might actually manage to be under these restrictions for a shorter period of time than we will end up being if we delay that action,” she explained.

“So these are tough judgements but I think given the loss of life that we know Covid can result in, the health damage that it does, we’ve got to be prepared at moments like this – people like me – to take tough decisions and be prepared to do things even if they’re unpopular for the greater good.”

Morgan praised Sturgeon’s handling of the situation – telling her: “A bit of empathy like that from leaders to the people right now goes a long way. Because a lot of people really don’t know what to think.”

The First Minister agreed, saying the rules impact her like anybody else.

“And the thing is I’m in a different position to other people in Scotland because I’m having to lead this effort. But I’m a human being, I’m an individual citizen, I’m separated from my family, I’m struggling with these decisions,” she told viewers.

“This is the toughest stuff I’ve ever faced. We’re all struggling with this. It’s nobody’s fault, I don’t think we should be trying to blame each other.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Scotland: Here’s what the new rules mean for you

Morgan also noted that Sturgeon was not “directly criticising” Johnson for not taking such strict action in his new rules.

He said: “If I’m looking at this subjectively like most people you’re saying well your actions they’re doing the talking for you. You clearly believe from the information that you’ve received that a lot more serious draconian measures need to be taken right now than Boris Johnson does. It’s self-evident. Or he’d be doing the same thing.”

The First Minister did not take a swing at the Tory leader, instead saying: “I believe that what I have announced, difficult though it is, is necessary.

“And I’m responsible for my decisions, I’m accountable for my decisions, that’s why I’m on here … not just to say to people here’s what we want you to do but try to be clear about why  we want people to do these things.”