CORONAVIRUS is not “out of control” in Scotland but we are “at a very perilous point in the journey” out of lockdown, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister made the comments as she updated the nation on the pandemic.

A total of 1297 people have tested positive in the past 24 hours, with most of these (419) within the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, which covers 1.1 million people from Gourock to Alexandria and beyond. Another 337 individuals are in the NHS Lanarkshire area, with 191 in the Lothians and 95 in Ayrshire and Arran.

An additional 40 people in hospital have the virus, taking that total to 527, and seven further fatalities have been confirmed.

The new cases represent 17.2% of all newly tested individuals.

In a wide-ranging briefing that took in lockdown, the economy, care home visiting and more, Sturgeon was asked if the virus is now “out of control”. She disagreed, but said: “We are at a very perilous point in this journey.”

The First Minister also acknowledged the difficulty her “tough” restrictions on the hospitality sector and more are causing some Scots. These include the continued ban on indoor gatherings in private households and curbs on the operations of licensed premises.

But she warned “half-measures often don’t work” against coronavirus.

Sturgeon said the steps taken in Scotland are “firmly rooted in scientific advice”, adding: “This can’t be seen as a contest between health and the economy.

“Keeping people safe from a potentially deadly virus is a prerequisite of a strong economy and of course in turn, a strong economy is vital for our health and wellbeing.

“These are not opposing objectives, even if it sometimes feels like they are. They are instead two sides of the same coin.”

The remarks come after it emerged that Sage, the UK Government’s scientific advisory body, told ministers last month that a short “circuit breaker” lockdown should be put in place. That advice was given the day before the stronger restrictions were enacted across the country.

While the SNP leader accepted she had also not implemented Sage’s recommendations in full, she said she had to find a “balance” between public health and the economy, adding: “Against this virus we sometimes have to be tough.

“Half-measures often don’t work. What you find is that they will still inflict economic pain and harm but they won’t have the required public health impact.

“So these are the tough but necessary restrictions that we’re asking everyone to abide by as we try to make sure the virus does not run out of control.

“In return, the government will continue to strengthen Test and Protect, we will do all we can to encourage and support people to comply with the advice, including the self-isolation advice.”

Sturgeon pledged to “work with businesses to ensure they can trade safely with as much normality as is possible during a pandemic” and said a new strategic framework will be put to MSPs after the October recess, which is currently ongoing.

Meanwhile, Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville set out a new £500 benefit payment to aid those on low incomes who are required to self-isolate.

Sturgeon emphasised that no employer should press a worker not to self-isolate and, on the new fund, said: “No-one should be forced to choose between doing the right thing or paying their rent or feeding themselves and their family.”

Highlighting both individual and collective responsibility for Scots, she said: “Back at the start of this pandemic we all came together to protect the NHS and save lives.

“These objectives must come back to the forefront.”

Calling for solidarity with those asked to self-isolate after coming into contact with coronavirus in the coming weeks and months, she said: “We should all think about if we can help somebody else if they have to self-isolate.

“If you haven’t done this already, now is the time to be able to speak to friends, family or neighbours to make sure that you have a way of getting in touch with each other if you need to.

“One of the things that we’ve seen throughout this pandemic is the extent to which people have reached out to help their loved ones, their neighbours and their wider communities.

“Self-isolation over these next few months is going to be a really important way in which we can all show that sense of solidarity and help to break the chains of transmission.”