NICOLA Sturgeon has written to Boris Johnson to request more economic powers for the Scottish Government.

It comes amid fears her administration is “hamstrung” on introducing more far-reaching public health curbs as they could lead to major job losses.

At the daily briefing yesterday the First Minister underlined she would have “likely” announced more wide-ranging restrictions – possibly closing pubs – to stop the coronavirus spread if her government had powers to limit the loss of jobs those curbs would cause.

She made the point after top scientist Professor John Edmunds criticised both the Scottish and UK governments, saying he believed they had not “gone far enough”. Edmunds went on to say that a mistake was made in March by action not being taken swiftly enough and he believes that mistake is about to be repeated.

Addressing journalists, the First Minister said: “There is a danger that what starts to hold us back is not the public health analysis but financial limitations.

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“So I will be writing to the Prime Minister today – I hope constructively because I recognise that the economic implications of all of this for the Treasury are not easy – but I will be writing asking that we do have urgent discussions to make sure we get to a position where the fear I have described is not the reality.

“That either through UK Government action – the extension of furlough for example – or some reasonable but necessary fiscal flexibilities for the devolved governments, through these ways we are all able to reach the decisions we think necessary to suppress the virus and save lives, while also mitigating the impact on jobs.”

The First Minister raised the issue of why she hadn’t announced the closure of pubs rather than just a 10pm curfew from tomorrow.

“If the Scottish Government had the power to borrow money or to extend the furlough job retention scheme – so that we could mitigate the impact on jobs – it is very possible, perhaps even likely, that we would have reached a different decision yesterday on hospitality.”

She said her point reflected her worry as First Minister “that we must not be hamstrung in essential public health decisions by the lack of necessary economic mitigations”.

Edmunds, a member of the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), was asked by the BBC about the latest measures.

“Overall I don’t think that the measures have gone anywhere near far enough. In fact I don’t even think the measures in Scotland have gone far enough,” he said, adding that action was not taken quickly enough in March and that “mistake” is about to be repeated.

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He warned: “I suspect we will see very stringent measures coming in place throughout the UK at some point, but it will be too late again.

“And then we’ll have the worst of both worlds, because then to slow the epidemic and bring it back down again, all the way down to somewhere close to where it is now or where it was in the summer, will mean putting the brakes on the epidemic for a very long time, very hard.

“Which is what we had to do in March because we didn’t react quick enough in March, and so I think that we haven’t learned from our mistake back then and we’re unfortunately about to repeat it.”

Meanwhile, Scotland has recorded its highest daily rise in positive coronavirus cases. As of yesterday a total of 486 people had tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing cases to 25,495. Two deaths have also been recorded in that period, meaning 2508 people have now died after testing positive.

Figures released from the National Records of Scotland – which account for all deaths registered in Scotland where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate – show the true number of fatalities stands at 4247.