Nicola Sturgeon is calling on the UK treasury to provide more help for businesses to allow a ‘gradual and careful’ easing of lockdown measures.

The First Minister said if we move too fast out of lockdown then lives will be lost. The alternative means businesses are affected by longer closure and restrictions on re-opening and jobs are lost.

some have been calling for a quicker exit and for the relaxing of the two metre distancing rule to allow more businesses to re-open.

Ms Sturgeon spoke as UK figures showed eh economy had contracted by 20% in April as he full effect of lockdown in March started to take hold.

She said it was the “largest decline on record” which showed the “scale of the economic crisis”.

The First Minister however said the gradual approach was working to suppress the virus and must be continued.

The said she had previously welcomed he UK Government furlough scheme but added: “It is now time to signal the extension of Treasury support.”

She warned: “Either business are forced to re-open before it is safe to do so and that will cost lives or businesses take a hit and that will cost jobs.”

Earlier UK Government Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, said that Scotland should be looking to halve the social distance rule to one metre as soon as possible.

Ms Sturgeon said the virus must first be further suppressed before more action to reopen the economy can safely be taken.

She said that as the number of cases reduced and the R number, the rate at which people infect others, reduces hen some people are tempted to say we should move faster out of lockdown.

However, Ms Sturgeon warned: “The reason w e are making good progress is because we are following a plan.”

She added we should “stick with the plan and make more progress”.

Research published by the Scottish Government on public attitudes to lockdown should, she said, 90% of those were willing to isolate for 14 days if they have symptoms and 90% are willing to get tested if they have symptoms.

The First Minister revealed the latest coronavirus statistics that showed there had been another three deaths in the last 24 hours taking the total to 2442 since the pandemic hit Scotland.

There was an increase of five in the number of people currently in hospital to 914.

The number of people in intensive care was 23 an increase of two and there was another 27 positive cases recorded taking the total in Scotland since March to 15,709.

In the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area there has now been 4000 cases, recorded since the outbreak began.

There were 260 in hospital. The number in intensive care was below five.