Few changes are expected to Scotland’s local coronavirus alert levels following a review on Tuesday.
Nicola Sturgeon is due to make a statement to the Scottish Parliament at 2.20pm after a cabinet meeting, however the First Minister already signalled that she does not expect there to be “much, if any, change”.
At the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 briefing on Monday, Sturgeon said the “overwhelming majority” of local authority areas will remain at their current level, however East Lothian will move down from level three to two.
Midlothian was also due to move down, but is now expected to remain at level three due to concerns about a rise in cases in recent days.
Acknowledging the move would be “disappointing” for those living in Midlothian, the First Minister added it was “better than moving the area down a level only to possibly to have to move it back up again in a week’s time”.
She added: “What we are seeking to do with the level system is get as much stability as possible for people and for businesses.”
Currently, 11 council areas are at level four – the highest tier of restrictions for Scotland.
This status – which affects more than two million people – is due to continue until at least December 11.
Scotland moved into a five-tier system of localised restrictions earlier this month in an effort to curb the spread of the deadly virus in high-prevalence areas but allowing more freedom in places with fewer cases.
On Monday, Sturgeon said coronavirus “won’t take Christmas off”, however talks are being held to ease the restrictions over the festive period.
Sturgeon confirmed discussions were held on Saturday with the UK Government and devolved nations in regards to a four-nation approach to the rules over Christmas, but stated that no agreement had been made.
The First Minister said she hopes to confirm the festive rules and precautions later this week, but there are no plans to ease the regulations over New Year.
Sturgeon said the “slight and careful” easing of the rules will likely feature extended household bubbles for a short period of time to combat isolation and loneliness.