NICOLA Sturgeon has opened the door to banning people who are entering Scotland from coronavirus hotspots in other parts of the UK.

The First Minister gave her backing to Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford’s move to ban entry to Wales for people from badly hit areas of Britain by tomorrow if Boris Johnson fails to impose travel restrictions.

She tweeted her “full support” for Drakeford’s decision, adding the Scottish Government “will also take whatever action we consider necessary to control Covid”.

She said she will be writing to the Prime Minister to “seek urgent talks” on the issue of travel within the UK.

“Fully support [Drakeford] on this. These are public health decisions, and nothing to do with constitutional or political debates. [The Scottish Government] will also take whatever action we consider necessary to control Covid,” she tweeted.

At her daily briefing on the pandemic yesterday afternoon, the First Minister advised Scots against travelling to high-risk areas of England as she singled out Blackpool as “associated with a large and growing number of Covid cases in Scotland”.

The First Minister warned that Celtic and Rangers fans should not travel to the Lancashire seaside town to watch the Old Firm match in pubs on Saturday. She added those who have not already booked a trip to the area should not now do so.

Sturgeon said 15 deaths of confirmed coronavirus patients had been reported across Scotland in the past 24 hours and 1429 people have tested positive.

She added at least 180 people in Scotland who tested positive for Covid-19 in the last month reported a recent trip to Blackpool.

An incident-management team had been set up to deal with those who have travelled between the town and Scotland.

“I need to advise you that trips to Blackpool are now associated with a large and growing number of Covid cases in Scotland,” the First Minister said.

“Blackpool is being mentioned in Test and Protect conversations far more than any other location outside of Scotland.”

Sturgeon added: “Blackpool is a place that many Scots love and like to visit, particularly at this time of year.

“Many of us have happy childhood memories of going to see the Blackpool illuminations.”

She said 342 people who were contacted by Test and Protect in the past week after contracting coronavirus reported travel outside of Scotland, 252 to somewhere else in the UK and 94 to Blackpool.

The First Minister added: “If you were thinking about going to Blackpool and haven’t booked yet then please do not go this year.

“Even more specifically, because we know this is an issue and I want to be very clear about this, do not travel to Blackpool this weekend to watch the Old Firm match in a pub.

“If you do that, you will be putting yourselves and you will be putting other people at risk.”

She urged people who could lose money on booked trips to travel very carefully, maintain physical distancing – especially on public transport – and to avoid pubs.

The First Minister said: “We are currently advising against non-essential travel to the parts of England which are classed as very high or high alert areas under England’s new three-tier system.

“And I’m asking people from these areas not to travel to Scotland either.”

She said she supports Drakeford’s calls for a Cobra meeting to be held “in early course” to “discuss collectively between the four nations what further steps we can all take at this stage to suppress the virus”.

Sturgeon said the death toll of people in Scotland who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days is now 2572. Half of the 15 new deaths reported were under the age of 80 and a “small number” were under 60, she said, warning Covid-19 affects people from all age groups.

She said: “Please do not ever think that this virus only poses a risk to the lives of the very elderly. It poses a risk to all of us and I’m asking everybody again to take and treat that risk extremely seriously.”