Nicola Sturgeon will hold a press conference following a Cabinet meeting about the new mutated strain of coronavirus.

The First Minister had previously warned “preventative measures” could have to be imposed to stop the “faster spreading strain taking hold”.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson announces tightening of Christmas restrictions amid fears of new Covid variant

Scottish Government ministers met on Saturday afternoon to discuss the discovery by scientists that the new variant coronavirus was spreading more rapidly.

The media briefing is scheduled to begin at 5.30pm, with the First Minister being accompanied by interim chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith and national clinical director Jason Leitch.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that a new Tier 4 of coronavirus restrictions will be introduced from Sunday morning due to the spread of the virus in parts of London, the south-east and east of England.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new restrictions were necessary because of the spread of a variant coronavirus which was transmitting faster than the original.

He told a Downing Street briefing: “It seems that this spread is now being driven by the new variant of the virus that we spoke about earlier this week.

“Our advisers on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) have spent the last few days analysing this new variant – there’s no evidence that it causes more severe illness or higher mortality but it does appear to be passed on significantly more quickly.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon warns 'preventative action may be necessary' amid fears of new variant Covid

“Nervtag early analysis suggests the new variant could increase the R by 0.4 or more and although there is considerable uncertainty it may be up to 70% more transmissible then the old variant.

“This is early data and is subject to review but it is the best that we have at the moment and we have to act on information as we have it because this is now spreading very fast.”

The Prime Minister said: “We are sacrificing the chance to see our loved ones this Christmas so we have a better chance of protecting their lives so that we can see them at future Christmases”.