NICOLA Sturgeon has confirmed three areas will have Covid-19 restrictions tightened from Friday.

The First Minister confirmed that three areas currently in level 2, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and East Lothian will be moved to level 3 from Friday.

All areas currently in level 3, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, will remain there.

But the First Minister said she has ordered an additional weekly review next week to further examine if further action is needed, after initially expecting the next formal review to take place in the first week of January.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I know that the move to Level 3 for East Lothian, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire – and the continuation of it in many other areas – involves real and continued difficulties for many businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector.

“However these measures are in our view essential to get and keep the virus under control."

The First Minister was under pressure to allow Edinburgh to have rules eased from hospitality businesses – but following a rise in cases over the last week, the capital city will remain in level 3, meaning pubs and restaurants must continue to close at 6pm and not serve alcohol.

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The First Minister said it would be “deeply irresponsible” to move Edinburgh and Midlothian into Level 2, and has instead pledged to work with partners in the local area to encourage compliance with restrictions.

Numbers in Edinburgh have risen by 40 per cent in the past week, the First Minister reported, from 70 to 100 per 100,000, while Midlothian rose from 88 to 147.

Cases in East Lothian have also risen by 50 per cent in the past week, from 69 to 116 per 100,000, resulting in the council area being moved into Level 3 from Friday.

Elsewhere, areas that had previously been in level 4 lockdown measures, including Glasgow and Stirling, will remain in level 3 after the lockdown was formally ended on Friday.

Rules are being temporarily relaxed for five days over Christmas to allow people to meet up with a maximum of eight people from two other households.

But Michael Gove will chair a call with Ms Sturgeon and other devolved leaders later to discuss the relaxation over Christmas.