NICOLA Sturgeon is to give further details on the easing of Covid restrictions in Scotland as the country reaches another significant step towards its exit from lockdown.

The First Minister, who is to address the nation on Tuesday, is expected to confirm and outline further details of how and when restrictions can be lifted across Scotland.

It is thought that Ms Sturgeon will confirm changes scheduled to go ahead from May 17 under 'Level 2' of the framework - including up to four people from two households socialising indoors, restaurants, cafés, pubs and bars opening indoors until 22:30, and cinemas, theatres, comedy clubs, amusement arcades and bingo halls reopening.

HeraldScotland:

It comes after the Covid-19 alert level in the UK was downgraded from Level 4 to Level 3 after a “consistent” fall in cases, hospital admissions and deaths.

The four chief medical officers of the UK put it down to the success of the vaccination programme and social distancing restrictions.

This means that the epidemic is in general circulation, but transmission of the virus is no longer deemed to be high or rising exponentially.

It comes as experts said that the nation is in a “strong position” to press ahead with the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Nicola Sturgeon returned to work at Bute House in Edinburgh on Sunday after her election victory.

She told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show she would be meeting clinical advisers over the next day.

She added: “We have a Covid review on Tuesday where we will set out the final decisions for the next easing of restrictions scheduled for May 17.”

What is currently expected from May 17?

The country is due to move down from Level 3 to Level 2 of restrictions on this date.

Up to four people from two households can socialise indoors in a private home in Level 2.

Pubs can sell alcohol indoors and cinemas, theatres, comedy clubs, amusement arcades and bingo halls can open.

However, there are still many areas still expected to remain closed in Level 2.

Soft play, funfairs, indoor bowling, snooker/pool halls and nightclubs are still not permitted to open in Level 2, according to current guidelines.

Lockdown easing at risk

Health authorities in the Moray are currently dealing with “uncontrolled, sustained community transmission” of Covid-19, with current restrictions failing to contain the spread.

Latest statistics show Moray had 93.9 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to May 7, significantly higher than the rate in the rest of the country.

Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, warned that Moray may be in a different position from the rest of the country, with 98.1 cases per 100,000 in the seven days to May 6.

She told BBC Good Morning Scotland: “From what I understand from NHS Grampian colleagues this is not a specific outbreak as in a factory or another workplace, it is community transmission, 98 cases per 100,000, the R number is about 1.8 so people will recognise that means if you have 10 people who are infected they could potentially pass it on to up to 18 so that’s very serious.

“I think what’s happened is we’ve still got a very transmissible virus, once you have clusters it does spread and it does seem to be in that local area, so I was particularly pleased to see two things – the first was opening of more testing sites in Moray and also giving good advice to people about the types of tests they can request based on symptoms or none, and the acceleration of that vaccine programme with invitations now being offered to younger adults more rapidly than elsewhere in Scotland.

“So I really hope the situation stabilises. Only nine cases yesterday, let’s hope it continues to decline, otherwise there is a real risk that Moray will, as we feared, be one area which might have to delay its easing a little bit just at this crucial time when the rest of the country is moving into that next stage.”

When is Nicola Sturgeon's update and where can I watch it?

The First Minister is expected to address the nation just after 12pm.

Coverage will be screened live on the Scottish Government's twitter account.

It will also be broadcast live on BBC One Scotland and iPlayer.