Nicola Sturgeon has addressed the nation saying the best chance to secure some “Christmas cheer” is to stick to the different tiered restrictions for areas across Scotland.
The levels have been graded from zero to four, with the toughest restrictions imposed at Level 4 – which the First Minister said will only be used when “absolutely necessary”.
Most Scots have seen their local authority areas placed in Level 3, but Ms Sturgeon has claimed there are grounds for “cautious” optimism.
She said: “Firstly, a heartfelt thank you to all of you for the sacrifices you’ve made, as we’ve faced this Covid challenge together.
“For some of you, these sacrifices have been compounded by the loss of a loved one, serious illness, or worry about your job and paying the bills.
“This has been difficult for everyone, but truly awful for many. No words can make that better.
“And I am sorry to again ask for more.
“But Covid is still with us. And it is still dangerous.
“Europe is now firmly in the grip of a second wave. Some countries, including France and Germany, are back in full lockdown.
“Here in Scotland, we see rising cases, more people in hospital and, tragically, more lives being lost.
“But we also have grounds for cautious hope.
“The difficult restrictions introduced a few weeks ago to limit household visits and hospitality are slowing the rate of increase.
Ms Sturgeon added: “These restrictions are tough but please believe me when I say they are still necessary.
“Of course, I wish I could tell you when things will return to normal.
“I can’t do that yet. I can only be straight with you.
“And given the challenge we face, I cannot guarantee that we won’t have to return to the highest level of restrictions across the whole country.
“But I do know the best way for us to avoid that – and I hope secure some degree of Christmas cheer – is to keep abiding by all the rules and guidance.
“I know that because it is starting to work already.
“Doing that – as it has always been – is fundamentally an act of solidarity, compassion and love.”