SCOTLAND has suffered its first Covid-19 death in eight days.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the fatality at the Scottish Government's daily briefing.

The First Minister said that while "even one death is of course one too many", to have had just one registered fatality from a confirmed case in eight days was "a sign of the progress we have made".

Announcing the latest coronavirus statistics, she said 2,491 patients have now died in Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19 and 18,384 people have tested positive for the virus - which is up 11 from Wednesday.

The R-number in Scotland continues to be below one, Ms Sturgeon said, with an estimate of just 700 people infectious.

But she stressed people should continue to "stick to the rules", saying everyone has a duty to "remember that the decisions we take as individuals right now have an impact on the collective well-being of all of us".

The First Minster also said that from Friday, non-cohabiting couples can meet without physical distancing even if one or both are shielding.

Those who are shielding in Scotland will also be able to visit and stay in holiday accommodation and attend outdoor markets and public gardens.

Ms Sturgeon said she hopes the Scottish Government will be able to "pause" shielding entirely from July 31.

She said: "I know that the prospect of returning to something more like your normal lives will be welcome for many of you, if not all of you.

"But I'm aware that it is also likely to be quite daunting, so the Scottish Government will provide more information for you nearer the time and will do everything we can to support you in this transition."

Ms Sturgeon also announced a package of mental health support for people who were diagnosed with Covid-19.

More than 500 people have had the "traumatic" experience of being discharged from intensive care in Scotland after having had the virus, she said.

Dr Nadine Cossette, a liaison psychiatrist at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, has been commissioned to develop proposals for the support of those who have had Covid-19.

The First Minister said: "I think it's an important way of ensuring that people who have had Covid get the long-term help that they may need to recover.

Education Secretary John Swinney also announced an £11.2 million "transitional" fund to support the childcare sector reopening, which he said would be done "in line with the reopening of schools" scheduled for August 11.

He added a workforce support fund, set up by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Childminding Association, would provide grants to support changes caused by the virus.