Nicola Sturgeon is to confirm whether Scotland’s Covid restrictions can be eased over the next few weeks.
The First Minister is meeting her cabinet to review the latest data before announcing the decision to MSPs in the afternoon. The Scottish Parliament is being recalled from recess to hear the statement.
The government had set a target of moving the whole country to level zero from July 19 before lifting most legal restrictions from August 9, but the country has since been hit by a record-breaking wave of infections which has put pressure on NHS services.
This week ministers said they believed the peak of the latest wave had passed which prompted Ms Sturgeon to say she was hopeful that some changes could go ahead as planned.
Different levels of restrictions are in force across Scotland, with areas in the central belt including Glasgow and Edinburgh in level two and other areas like Aberdeenshire, Fife and the Highlands in level one. Orkney, Shetland and many island communities are already in level zero. Ms Sturgeon had set a target of moving the whole country to this level on July 19 – the same date as most restrictions will be lifted in England.
The First Minister has previously said she wants to “move beyond level zero” by scrapping the bulk of legal restrictions from 9 August, while maintaining some mitigations such as the use of face coverings in enclosed areas. However she has stressed that these dates were “not set in stone” after Scotland was hit by the wave of new infections which saw the country have the worst daily case rates anywhere in Europe.