NICOLA Sturgeon has confirmed the Scottish Government is planning to introduce a new five-tier coronavirus lockdown system. 

The First Minister said the "new strategic framework" for managing the virus through the winter and into the early part of next year will be published on Friday. 

It will come into force from November 2.

It came as existing hospitality restrictions were extended for a further week, meaning bars and restaurants in central Scotland will remain shut until November 2.

Ms Sturgeon said 28 new deaths were recorded overnight from Covid-19. This is the highest number of daily deaths since May 21.

The First Minister said the middle three tiers of Scotland's new system will be "broadly equivalent" to the medium, high and very high alert levels in England.

However there will also be an extra upper and lower level.

The lower level will represent "the closest to normality that we can reasonably expect to live with until we have a vaccine or a more effective treatment for this virus".

The highest or strictest level, meanwhile, will be "closer to a full lockdown if things got that serious". 

Ms Sturgeon stressed the "default position" will be keeping schools open regardless of which tier is in force.

However she said a move to blended learning - which combines classroom teaching with learning at home - "cannot ever be absolutely ruled out". 

She said Ireland had kept schools open despite moving to the strictest level of restrictions. 

Ms Sturgeon said other countries had adopted a similar multi-tier system.

Earlier, she said the new strategic framework "will include different levels of restrictions that can be applied either nationally or regionally, depending on the level of infection across the country or in different parts of the country".

She added: "The detail of what level will initially apply to each part of the country will be assessed in the coming days and set out in advance of November 2."

The First Minister said the new approach could see further extension of existing restrictions or "perhaps even tougher restrictions for all or part of the country if we think that is necessary to safeguard health and life".