Nicola Sturgeon has said she will publish Scotland’s route map out of lockdown next week, but warned that “100 per cent normality” is unlikely to return for some time.

The First Minister told MSPs that some restrictions may have to remain in place, and “trade offs” will have to be made to ease some restrictions, such as the return of schools.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I know this is difficult given how desperate we all are to get back to something close to normal, but if we open up too quickly to meet arbitrary dates, we risk setting progress back.

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“Indeed, because of the new, more infectious variant, our exit from lockdown is likely to be even more cautious than it was last summer.

“And secondly, probably for a while yet, 100% normality is unlikely to be possible.

“So in a world where we can’t do everything immediately, we will need to decide what matters most.”

HeraldScotland:

Addressing MSPs at Holyrood on Tuesday afternoon, Ms Sturgeon also warned that lockdown in Scotland could continue beyond the March 1 date previously given.

She added: “The core stay at home requirement will remain in place until at least the beginning of March – and possibly for a further period beyond that.”

Just one “limited” change was made to the current lockdown measures yesterday, with a phased return to school for some pupils going ahead as planned.

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However, the Scottish Government hopes to produce a new road map out of lockdown next week, in a bid to indicate how parts of society and the economy will begin to reopen in what could be a “geographic levels approach”.

The First Minister told MSPs work was being done on a replacement strategic framework, which will put more emphasis on data as opposed to timings for the reopening of the country.

She said: “It will set out as far as possible the conditions that need to be met, in terms of the data, for us to start lifting restrictions.

“And it will detail the broad order of priority for reopening, including what a return to a geographic levels approach might look like in due course.”

What might the framework say?

Setting out an example of what the framework may say, Ms Sturgeon said it would likely advise Scots not to book Easter holidays, but added that “staycations” during the summer may be allowed depending on the data.

It has been stressed that summer holidays abroad are expected to be impossible.

The First Minister also revealed contact with family would be a top priority,  followed by non-essential shops reopening.

However, lockdown rules are not expected to ease as quickly as they did last summer, due to the faster-spreading Kent variant.

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She added: “I desperately wish that I could be firmer now about exactly when and how we will exit lockdown in the weeks ahead.

"But I am acutely aware that moving too quickly - or getting the balance wrong - will cause cases to rise again.

"And that would mean more people ill and in hospital, more pressure on our NHS, and the prospect of more not fewer restrictions as we have to start all over again in getting the virus back under control.

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"The fact is that a cautious approach - however frustrating - will be more successful and more sustainable.

"So please continue to stick to the letter and the spirit of the rules."