With immediate effect, ferry companies will no longer take non-essential travellers, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

From now on ferries will be those who live on our islands, who have essential need to travel to or from the mainland and for essential supplies for businesses -nothing else.

The news has been praised by islanders after groups on Cumbrae had issued a joint statement earlier today regarding the current concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic.

The statement was issued by Cumbrae Community Council, the Isle of Cumbrae Tourist Association and Cumbrae Ferry Users Group.

The statement reads: "The Isle of Cumbrae has been the most welcoming of islands for visitors for many, many years but now feels the time has come in light of clear government guidance, to look carefully at steps that can be taken to lessen the risks of infection to the island’s residents, a large proportion of whom are elderly or may have existing underlying health issues. It is also necessary to ensure the best possible treatment is available to them if taken seriously ill which may well include the need to be helicoptered off the island due to our small number of trained medical staff and limited medical resources on the island.

"As everyone is by now aware it is essential to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus and to this end the government has clearly stated that no unnecessary travel should be undertaken.

"Therefore, we are sure you will understand why we are not encouraging visitors to Cumbrae at present and we strongly request that, in accordance with national guidelines, you will postpone your proposed trip to the island. It would be irresponsible to be promoting our island at this time for any non-essential travel.

"This decision has not been taken lightly, but we are sure that you will appreciate that the priority for Cumbrae as an island is to look after the health and wellbeing of our island residents first and foremost.

"The ferry is the lifeline service for the island and it is also essential that any risk of infection to those operating the service is minimised at this time by limiting contact with the public as much as possible.

"The island has only limited health and social care resources which are already operating towards their capacity and any further strain on them would have a very detrimental effect.

"The aim of everybody must now be to limit the spread of this virus by taking all steps possible – which unfortunately means that we must ask visitors to postpone their trips at this time.

"We look forward to welcoming you all again when the situation improves."