All pupils except those on the shielding list will be back in the classroom full-time following the Easter holidays, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

The move comes as the latest figures show a continued week-on-week fall in cases. 

Pupils will return to classrooms from the week beginning April 19, following the Easter break.

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Speaking at a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said: "When the Easter holidays end, virtually all pupils will return to school full-time, so secondary schools will go back to in-person, full-time learning."

Ms Sturgeon said the exception to this is children who are shielding, who are asked to remain at home until April 26.

Speaking about the return to schools, she said: "This, I know, will be a huge relief to many children and young people and, of course, to many parents and carers and as I said a moment ago, by the end of April we want to see children on the shielding list get back to school in person as well."

It comes as Scotland recorded no Covid deaths for the fourth day in a row, with cases also falling. 

In the past seven days, there have been 2,603 confirmed cases of the virus compared to 3,624 in the week to March 30 - a decline of 28% week-on-week. 

The average test positivity rate for the past seven days is 2.1% - the lowest it has been since September. 

It comes as Ms Sturgeon also announced plans to make twice-weekly lateral flow testing available routinely, on a voluntary basis, to all Scots. 

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More details will be provided later this week, said Ms Sturgeon, but she said the increased availability of lateral flow devices- already offered in schools to NHS staff - will coincide with further easings to restrictions scheduled for April 26.

The move mirrors a similar initiative recently announced in England.

Ms Sturgeon said: "This testing will be in addition to, and will supplement, the additional testing routes that are in place in priority areas.

"This more universal approach to asymptomatic testing will allow us to assess the impact that might have on further suppressing transmission."

The First Minister said the coronavirus is "down...but not out" in Scotland, as she gave a further update on daily figures.

The numbers of Covid-19 patients in hospital in Scotland has fallen to 196, down 19 from Thursday when this figure was last provided due to the Easter break.

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

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The First Minister warned there is still a risk of Covid-19 spikes as are being seen in other countries, despite relatively low numbers in Scotland.

She said: "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."

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."


Scenes of mass gatherings and disorder in the Meadows in Edinburgh over the weekend, following some lockdown easing, are of "considerable concern", Ms Sturgeon said.

Police officers should not have to disperse crowds, she added, after a video surfaced of a major fight between young people at the park.

The First Minister also gave an update on vaccines, saying the first batch of newly approved Moderna vaccines arrived in Scotland on Monday.

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

The First Minister said these doses have already been factored into the vaccination programme, and will be delivered over the coming months.

Ms Sturgeon 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."

She added that by 7.30am on Tuesday 2,577,816 people in Scotland had received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 463,780 have received their second dose.

She said she hopes to confirm whether further lockdown changes planned for April 26, such as opening hospitality and more retail businesses, will take place or not at a further briefing on April 20.