SCOTLAND is set to push ahead with its five-tier coronavirus system but a further national lockdown cannot be ruled out, the Deputy First Minister has said. 

John Swinney insisted it would be "foolish" to rule out future nationwide restrictions such as those being imposed in England. 

But he said Scotland is currently in a stronger position and it is hoped the measures taken north of the Border will be enough to avoid such a move. 

He made the comments during an interview on the BBC's Politics Scotland. 

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a month-long lockdown in England.

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Scotland: Tier 0-4: Which Covid restriction level is your local area in?

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said it is his "fervent hope" this will not last beyond December 2, but did not rule out an extension. 

Asked about a national lockdown, Mr Swinney said: "I can't categorically rule that out, no, and it would be foolish to do so because we do face a very serious situation.

"We took the scientific advice that was given to us in September, and we applied restrictions right away. 

"We have not been able to visit other households in Scotland in any part of the country since September 22, and indeed in some parts of Scotland, in Glasgow and the west of Scotland, people have not been able to visit in each other's houses since the early part of September. 

"We've taken early steps to try and stem the increase of the coronavirus based on the scientific advice that was given to us, and have acted promptly.

"But I cannot rule out the possibility of further measures, or indeed a national lockdown being required should the circumstances arise. 

"Now we hope the measures that we've taken so far, the levels system, and the restrictions that we've put in place, tough though they are, will be enough to ensure that we can avoid a national lockdown. 

"But it must remain one of the possibilities that exists for us."

He added: "The time that we've taken to bear down on the virus over the course of the last two months has put us into, in general, a stronger position compared to the situation that prevails in England today. 

"And also within Scotland we have significant differentials in the level of the virus which enables us to operate with varying degrees of restrictions within the country."

Mr Swiney said there were "some early signs that the virus may be flattening out within Scotland". 

He said the levels system is "the correct position for us to take". 

Elsewhere, he said the Scottish Government was not told in advance about the extension of furlough.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon to seek clarity over furlough extension amid England lockdown

He said previous calls for an extension by Scottish ministers were "just disregarded by the UK Government". 

Mr Swinney added: "What we need to know is the circumstances in which furlough payments are going to be available. 

"Are they only going to be available when England's got a problem?

"Or are they going to be available at all times, in all parts of the UK, when we all, at different stages, face difficulties and have to apply restrictions?"

He called for "urgent clarity" from the UK Government.