Scottish first minister calls for Scottish sites to shut to “save lives”

Nicola Sturgeon has called for construction sites in Scotland to close ahead of the prime minister’s daily press conference, warning: “this is about saving lives.”

The Scottish first minister (pictured), who has been attending the government’s emergency Cobra meetings, said that workers continuing as normal pose a serious risk of spreading coronavirus.

Speaking at a press conference she said: “It has been clear to me that there are still too many people across our country who are being expected to, or expecting to, go to work as normal and this presents a serious and unnecessary risk of spreading the virus”.

Nicola Sturgeon

She added: “This morning I was specifically asked on radio about building sites and hair salons and my advice would be to close.

“If our National Health Service becomes overwhelmed people will die needlessly. This is about saving lives.”

She also said that she was “very hopeful” that the UK government would soon introduce further measures to help freelance, self-employed and contract workers.

>> The curious case of building sites staying open while coronavirus sends country into lockdown

The first minister’s comments came as Northern Ireland’s health minister warned that “draconian” measures to restrict movement in Northern Ireland could be seen within days.

Speaking at the Northern Irish power sharing assembly at Stormont, Robin Swann said: “This isn’t something we can wait weeks on, this isn’t something that we will wait many days on. These draconian measures will save lives.”

Meanwhile Boris Johnson is reported to be facing a “full scale mutiny” amongst his senior cabinet ministers and advisors if he does not bring in stricter social distancing controls in the coming days.

However Arcadis head of strategy Simon Rawlinson told Building the issue of closing the UK’s construction sites is a “very difficult and nuanced question to answer”.

“I think that in some instances it’s possible to continue working with elements of self segregation.”

But he added that considering the speed of developments over the past week and the pressure now building on the government to “act ahead of the curve,” he could see the prime minister “taking quite significant measures across the economy.”

 >> Coronavirus and construction: keep up to date