Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the planned easing of lockdown this weekend will go ahead.

The First Minister said that the stay at home rule will be lifted on Friday and replaced by a stay local rule for at least the next three weeks.

She confirmed the changes that are able to go ahead on Monday, including more retail opening up like homeware and garden centres and hairdressers and barbershops able to open.

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Sturgeon said: “We have made progress both in suppressing the virus and in vaccination, and therefore the changes I previously indicated will go ahead on 2 and 5 April.

“The stay at home rule is being replaced by a requirement to stay local - while Covid levels remain high in some areas, and while a lot of people remain unvaccinated, we do not want the virus to spread from areas with relatively high prevalence to areas with low rates of infection. That’s why the current travel restrictions, which prevent non-essential travel outside your local authority area, are really important.

“It will be easier to relax more restrictions in the future if case numbers remain under control, so when things open up slightly this weekend please continue to stick to the rules, and follow the advice and the instructions given by store staff to keep you and the other customers safe.

Sturgeon said however, that the Covid-19 virus was still circulating and cases were rising in other countries.

She said: " Look across Europe and we see many countries seeing a big rise in cases and pressure on health services. It is still too widespread and dangerous to open up fully.

"But if the data permits we hope to make more changes later in April."

She said that on April 26 the planned lifting of travel restrictions will go ahead.

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Sturgeon said by then all over 50s and those in the top nine priority groups will heve been offered a first dose of the vaccine.

She said that 99% of deaths have occurred in those groups.

On April 26  Scotland would move to level three and would see a full re-opening of retail and a partial opening of hospitality outdoors and an easing of some other outdoor gathering rules.