Nicola Sturgeon has outlined further steps in Scotland’s route map out of lockdown.

The First Minister was providing a media briefing from St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, during which time she confirmed the Scottish Government’s plans around the return of schools.

She also highlighted the progress Scotland has made against the virus, but warned that “Covid is down, but not out”, urging people not to drop their guard.

It comes after an easing of lockdown restrictions on Monday.

Here, we outline the key points from today’s briefing.


All pupils in Scotland – except those shielding – will be back in the classroom full time following the Easter holidays, the First Minister told the Scottish Government briefing.

That means a return to classroom for most secondary school pupils on April 12.

Those in the shielding category are hoped to be allowed back into the classroom by April 26.

Ms Sturgeon said: “"This is, I know, a huge relief to many children and young people – and of course to many parents and carers.

"I know, however, that it will also be a source of concern for some people. And so I want to give reassurance that safety will be paramount.

"The return to school will involve the removal, where necessary, of strict 2 metre physical distancing between pupils in secondary schools - however we are asking schools to consider how they can strengthen other mitigations."


Twice-weekly testing:

Every person in Scotland will be able to get tested for Covid-19 twice a week, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister announced the programme, mirroring a similar initiative in England, at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh.

She said: “This testing will be in addition to and will supplement the additional testing routes that are in place in priority areas.”

She added: “This more universal approach to asymptomatic testing will allow us to assess the impact that might have on further suppressing transmission.”

The system will use lateral flow tests and more detail will be provided by the Scottish Government later this week, Ms Sturgeon said.

Further lockdown exit news?

The First Minister confirmed that the next scheduled briefing will be on April 20.

It’s expected she will use this date to confirm a further reopening of hospitality and tourism, as well as measures to support this.


Moderna vaccine:

The first batch of newly approved Moderna vaccines arrived in Scotland on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon said.

Scotland is due to receive more than one million of the 17 million doses ordered by the UK.

The First Minister also said that the doses have already been factored into forward planning for the vaccination programme, and will be delivered over the coming months.

Addressing the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, she said: “The fact that we now have three vaccines in use is clearly very welcome and it does give us greater security of supply which is welcome.”

It comes as 2,577,816 people received the first dose of the vaccine in Scotland, an increase of 12,536 since yesterday.

A total of 463,780 have had their second dose.

‘Down but not out’

Coronavirus is down but not out in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister warned Scots that there is still a risk of Covid spikes as are being seen in other countries, despite relatively low numbers north of the border.

She told the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh: “In total, cases have now fallen by 80% since early January when of course they were at a particularly high level, the number of deaths has fallen even more sharply than that and as you can see from the numbers I reported earlier the number of people in hospital and intensive care is reducing.”

But she added: “Covid is down in Scotland, you can see that from the figures, but as we can still see here and more starkly in more parts of the world, Covid is not out.

“It is a virus that is very much still with us.

“Here in Scotland we are still seeing hundreds of people every day testing positive for it and almost all of the new cases that we are seeing reported now in Scotland are of the new variant that emerged just before Christmas and as we know that variant is more infectious than the variants we were dealing with earlier this year.”

Latest figures:

Scotland recorded no deaths of Covid patients for the fourth day running, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

The death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – remains at 7,614.

The First Minister stressed deaths registered are often lower at the weekends.

She said 259 people tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours, giving a daily test positivity rate of 2%, down from 2.5% on Monday.

Of the new cases, 93 were in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, with 44 in NHS Lothian and 32 in NHS Lanarkshire, and the rest split over six other health boards.

The numbers of Covid patients in hospital in Scotland has fallen to 196, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed.

She told a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing this figure is 19 fewer than when it was last provided before the Easter break.

Of these patients, the number in intensive care remains the same as prior to the Easter break at 21.

The First Minister said 2,577,816  people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 463,780 have received their second dose.