Nicola Sturgeon urged people to follow all of the current rules and advice “rigorously” over this weekend, while speaking at her daily briefing.
The First Minister said: “It may well be that if we are to interrupt and break this growth we may need to do more over the next few weeks and this weekend will be critical in the assessment of how best to do that.
“I want to give the nation advance notice that the coming days are likely to see some hard but necessary decisions.
“If we want to avoid another full-scale lockdown, which all of us do, doing nothing almost certainly isn’t an option.”
Nicola Sturgeon advised people to avoid travelling to parts of the UK that are under tougher restrictions, as well as avoiding non-essential travel abroad.
Her comments came after Slovenia and Guadeloupe were added to the quarantine list for Scotland on Thursday evening.
The changes come into effect at 4am on Saturday, meaning from then people entering Scotland from Slovenia and Guadeloupe must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
Ms Sturgeon said: “This is a further reminder of how quickly levels of this virus in any country or area can change.
“Please avoid non-essential overseas travel at the moment if possible.
“Indeed please think carefully about non-essential travel at home as well and in particular avoid travelling to parts of the UK that are under tougher restrictions right now because levels of Covid are rising fastest.”
“The virus could get out of our grip again”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that Scotland is “facing the risk again of exponential growth in Covid”.
She warned that “the virus could get out of our grip again” but said there is still time to prevent that happening.
Ms Sturgeon said: “We need to act to interrupt that exponential growth. No-one wants to see another full-scale lockdown. And above all we want to k
eep schools and childcare open because we know how important that is to the education and to the broader wellbeing of children and young people.”
She said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of places both here in Scotland and across the rest of the UK that are under local and regional restrictions.
“The bottom line here is that this virus is on the rise again. Our case numbers are not yet rising as fast as they were back in March but they are rising again and they are rising quite rapidly.
“The percentage of tests coming back positive is also not anywhere near as high as it was back in March but again it is rising and the R number we believe is above 1.”
She said that what is happening in England, where hospital admissions and ICU admissions are rising, should be seen as a “warning signal” for Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon also said that while in recent weeks people may have taken comfort from the low levels of older and more vulnerable people contracting the virus “that picture is also beginning to change”.
One more confirmed coronavirus patient has died in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
It brings the total number of Covid-19 fatalities to 2,502.
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily briefing, the First Minister said 23,776 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland, up by 203 from 23,573 the day before.
This is 4.4% of newly-tested individuals.
Of the new cases, 69 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 29 in Lanarkshire and 30 in Lothian.
There are 61 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up by nine in 24 hours.
Of these patients, five were in intensive care, no change on yesterday.
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