The First Minister has confirmed that Scotland will stay in lockdown until at least the end of February.

The "stay at home" message will remain law and non-essential shops will stay closed, along with pubs and restaurants.

She also provided an update on Scotland's back-to-school plan, including a phased return from February 22.

The decision comes as Covid cases across Scotland have decreased since the start of the year but have still stayed at a high level.

Here's what you need to know​:

Lockdown extended in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon announced that lockdown will be extended until "at least" the end of February.

Updating MSPs in Holyrood on Tuesday, the First Minister said progress had been made in the fight against the virus as a result of compliance with lockdown restrictions.

But warned that "continued caution" was needed.

Ms Sturgeon also said there could be some "gradual easing" from the start of March.

The First Minister added: "If our progress continues, then I am cautiously optimistic that, as more and more people get vaccinated and with the protection of some of the additional measures that I will cover shortly, we may be able to begin looking towards a careful and gradual easing around the start of March."

An update on possible easing will be given in two weeks, Ms Sturgeon said.

Return to schools

Scotland's schools are to begin reopening on a phased basis from February 22.

Nicola Sturgeon has announced younger children will return full-time to classrooms as long as progress in suppressing Covid continues.

This includes early learning and childcare for those below school age, as well as P1-P3 pupils.

Senior school pupils will be allowed to return on a part-time basis to complete coursework that is necessary for the completion of national qualifications. 

However, the First Minister said older pupils will only be able to return to ensure practical work important to achieving qualifications is completed and only between 5% and 8% of any school’s roll should be able to return.


The First Minister said: "The decisions I am about to outline are intended to give young people, parents and teachers as much notice as possible, but I must
stress that they are subject to continued progress in suppressing the virus and will be subject to final confirmation in two weeks’ time."

Anyone working in schools or childcare settings in Scotland, as well as older pupils, will be routinely tested twice a week, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Hotel Quarantine

Travellers coming to Scotland from any country may be asked to quarantine in a hotel, Nicola Sturgeon said.

The First Minister said a system of "managed quarantine" would be put in place for anyone arriving directly to Scotland, going further than systems announced in the rest of the UK.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: "The firm view of the Scottish Government is that in order to minimise the risk of new strains coming into the country, managed quarantine must be much more comprehensive.

"I can therefore confirm today that we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from."

The First Minister also said that she could not "unilaterally" impose such restrictions on people landing elsewhere in the UK and travelling to Scotland, but hoped the other administrations would work with the Scottish Government to reduce the number of people doing so.

Self-isolation payment

Criteria for the £500 self-isolation payment offered by the Scottish Government will be widened, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Only a quarter of the applications for the grant in its first two months were accepted by local authorities, leading the Scottish Government to review its conditions.

Currently, those eligible for benefits can claim, but the First Minister said: “I can therefore confirm today that we will be extending eligibility for the
£500 self-isolation payment to everyone on an income below the level of the real living wage.

“More details of this and the other steps we intend taking to support people required to self-isolate will be set out by the Social Security Secretary shortly.”


610,678 people have now received a vaccination in Scotland including 98% of care home residents and 83% of the number of over 80s.

21% of over 75-year-olds have received their first dose and the Scottish Government are on track to vaccinate all over 70-year-olds and all adults who are classed as being 'clinically vulnerable' by the middle of February.

Vaccinations of the 65-69-year-olds will be this week 60-64 year-olds and unpaid carers will receive their first appointment by the third week of February.


Asymptomatic testing

Scotland will extend asymptomatic testing to workers in food production and distribution, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Routine testing, similar to that in place for health and care workers, will be brought in “over the course of this month”, the First Minister said.

Further asymptomatic testing will also be put in place in some local communities, the First Minister said.

Seven local authority areas have already had such a scheme confirmed, with plans to be announced for each council in the country by the end of this week.

“This can play a particularly valuable role in communities where prevalence is stubbornly high or starting to rise again,” the First Minister said.

Case numbers decreasing

Nicola Sturgeon announced 69 new deaths overnight from Covid-19 as 758 new positive cases were announced today. This represents 7.4% of the total tests carried out.

Ms Sturgeon said that 1,939 patients are currently being treated for confirmed coronavirus in hospitals in Scotland. 143 people are intensive care.

The First Minister said that these case numbers are still too high but that the most recent figures "provide further evidence that the lockdown restrictions are working to improve the situation".

She added that average daily case numbers have more than halved in the past three weeks and that pressure on the NHS still remains "severe".

Five cases of a new variant in Scotland

Ms Sturgeon confirmed five cases of the new South African variant of Covid in Scotland but that these were all linked to travel and not a threat.