IN THE past few weeks, our day-to-day lives have changed beyond recognition.

The vast majority of us are now working at home. We are unable to see our family and friends when we want to. We cannot go out to restaurants, the cinema or the gym.

We can only go to the the shops as infrequently as possible for essential food and medicines. Most children are not permitted to go to school.

Even a month ago, these restrictions on our liberty were unimaginable but, as difficult as they may be, we all know the importance of following the guidance as we battle this hidden enemy.

For the most part, both the Scottish and UK governments have been working together constructively as we face the common challenge of tackling Covid-19.

Sweeping emergency legislation has been passed at both Westminster and Holyrood, giving the police new powers and making changes to services at this time of national emergency.

Thankfully, the Scottish Government backed down on plans to end jury trials following pressure from opposition parties, which would have removed an important safeguard of human rights and the problems faced by the courts can be addressed in different ways.

We have also seen a scaling back of the services offered by local councils as they try to focus on the delivery of essential services and there have been some understandable delays to previously announced Scottish Government policies, such as free childcare expansion.

This national emergency has called for both our governments to step up to the plate. The measures announced by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor of the exchequer, will support both businesses and individuals across the country, by protecting incomes and ensuring that the economy can get back up and running as soon as possible.

The Scottish Government has also played its part, in particular by releasing funds to support the third-sector to ensure those charities affected by the pandemic or who are seeking to help deliver vital emergency support to our communities can continue to operate.

The vast majority of people have been playing their parts and strictly adhering to the guidance issued by the UK and Scottish governments, which will help to ensure that the restrictions will be able to be lifted more quickly.

We have also seen a fantastic effort by people up and down the country who have volunteered to help the most vulnerable in our society. Hundreds of community resilience groups have been established to ensure people still get access to food and medicines during this crisis.

Above all, I must pay tribute to those who are working day in, day out in our NHS and in social care services. These heroes are working around the clock in these unprecedented circumstances and are putting their own lives at risk to keep us all safe and care for us in our hour of need.

Whilst they continue to work hard for us, it is vital that we stay home for them.

However hard it is, we must stay at home, protect the NHS and ultimately save lives.