PUBS, cafes, restaurants, gyms, theatres and cinemas across Scotland have been ordered to close down, as part of a UK-wide bid to slow down the deadly coronavirus.

Both Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson made desperate pleas yesterday evening, telling drinkers that ignoring their advice would ultimately lead to more people dying.

At his daily Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister said the measures were needed to reduce “unnecessary” social gatherings by 75% in order to have an impact on the infection rate.

“The speed of our eventual recovery depends entirely on our collective ability to get on top of the virus now and that means we have to take the next steps on scientific advice,” he said.

“And following our plan we are strengthening the measures announced on Monday.

“We need now to push down further on that curve of transmission between us.”

Standing alongside Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced he was establishing a coronavirus job-protection scheme to help employers hit by the outbreak.

He said that they would be able to apply to HM Revenue and Customs to cover 80% of the wages of staff they keep on up to £2500 a month.

Moments later, in a televised address from Bute House, the First Minister said Scotland needed to do all it could to slow down the outbreak.

Sturgeon said that the Government had already tried to delay the peak of the virus by asking people to stay away from crowded places like pubs, restaurants and cinemas.

But, she added, “in light of advice this afternoon, from our scientists and the Chief Medical Officer” there would now need to be “strict compliance for that to be effective”.

Sturgeon told the nation: “I am now asking restaurants, cafes pubs, gyms and cinemas to close.

“I know how difficult this is, but it is vital to reduce our risk of getting the virus, and to reduce the risk of infecting those who are most vulnerable of becoming seriously ill or dying.

“In short, it will save lives. It also gives our NHS the best chance of coping.”

She added: “We’ve put the NHS on an emergency footing. We’re taking steps to increase the capacity of our hospitals and intensive care wards.

“But those who work in our health and social care services will be tested like never before.”

The announcement came after scientists advising the Government warned that restrictions to control the spread of the virus will need to be in place for most of a year – at least.

The Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling said while the severity of measures could fluctuate, “stricter” measures would need to be enforced for at least half of the year in order to keep cases at a level the NHS can cope with. These could include continuing the school closures and social distancing for everyone, while less restrictive measures include isolating cases and households.

Johnson said the restrictions on pubs and cafes and other premises would be reviewed on a monthly basis as he appealed to people to stay at home “as far as possible”.

In her address, the First Minister also spoke directly to the over-70s and Scotland’s children, acknowledging the toll the outbreak is taking on the nation’s mental health.

“To older people – we are asking you to stay away from your grandkids, from the people you love. That’s hard. But it is for your protection – so you can stay around to see them grow up.

“To children – I know this is a strange time. You’re away from school, and won’t be able to spend as much time with friends.

“The adults around you are probably feeling a bit anxious too. So help them. Follow their advice. Study and do your homework. But don’t forget to have fun. And wash your hands.”