THREE areas of Scotland have been moved into tougher restrictions - but no part of the country has been placed into the strictest level four.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the "difficult, but in our view necessary and precautionary decision” that Fife, Perth and Kinross and Angus will be moved from level 2 to level 3 of restrictions from Friday - on a par with Edinburgh and Glasgow.

In Angus, the cases per 100,000 has increased by 47 per cent in a week, it has risen by 40 per cent in Fife and 32 per cent in Perth and Kinross.

The First Minister added that "by acting now, we can hopefully prevent a more serious deterioration in the future".

Ms Sturgeon said that Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian, North and South Lanarkshire have experienced cases that have "stabilised at a stubbornly high level" and insisted that a move to level 4 in the near future "cannot be ruled out".

Ms Sturgeon said that Stirling and Inverclyde, also currently in level 3, were seen as a "particular concern" and "to a lesser extent" South Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.

Within level 1, those living in Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles will, from Friday, be able to meet one other household inside their homes, up to a maximum of six people. Guidance will be issued for anyone who travels to the mainland to avoid in-home socialising for a period after their return.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that no area was able to have restrictions eased because "we are not yet seeing a sustained falling in cases".

From the outset, Ms Sturgeon insisted that "the majority of local authorities will see no immediate change this week".

READ MORE: Coronavirus Scotland: Edinburgh staying in tier three 'already decided'

She added that "careful judgements as well as hard data" are being taken into account.

Ms Sturgeon added: "More than 300 people dying in the last two weeks is a sharp reminder of the heartbreak this virus causes."

But Ms Sturgeon said that although "we do still face tough times ahead" she insisted "there are grounds for optimism now" and "a glimmer of light has appeared" due to progress made in developing a vaccine.

She added: "The sacrifices everyone is making are hard - and they feel never-ending. But they are helping. They have made a difference, and they are saving lives. There is no doubt that the restrictions we have put in place have dramatically slowed the spread of the virus.

“But hospital admissions are still too high. The number of new cases we are seeing – more than 1,000 a day on average – is also too high. And we cannot be sure that we are seeing a sustained fall in cases.

“As I have said repeatedly in recent days, a rising or even plateauing rate of infection is not a stable position. We want to see a decline in cases. And so we will be monitoring the situation carefully in the days ahead."

Nicola Sturgeon said that travel restrictions continued to be “essential” in the multi-tiered approach being taken by Scotland.

And while ministers have been considering putting these into law, she said they would remain as guidance over the next week.

But Ms Sturgeon warned people the work to give the guidance legal backing continued, saying the Government “continue to prepare the regulations, and resolve the practical issues, that would be required to put them into law”.

She said ministers would “not hesitate to do that if we think it necessary” but urged the public to “please abide by them now so that it doesn’t become necessary”.