Significant easing of coronavirus restrictions this week is “highly unlikely” as Nicola Sturgeon gets set to announces changes at Holyrood.
The First Minister will reveal the results of a review of the new five-level system of measures to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday after a meeting of her Cabinet.
It comes as the number of positive cases across Scotland has flatlined, although there is yet to be a sustained fall.
Speaking during the Scottish Government’s briefing in Edinburgh on Monday, Sturgeon said: “I think it is highly unlikely that we will see any significant easing of restrictions announced tomorrow.
“While a plateauing of cases is undoubtedly better than a rise of cases, we can’t afford cases simply to plateau at their current quite high level.
“We need them to fall, otherwise we will be badly exposed to any further rise in cases as we go deeper into winter.
“And we know that a further rise is entirely possible, we can see that by looking across Europe and the world right now.”
The central belt of Scotland is currently in Level 3 of the measures, along with Dundee and Ayrshire, with other parts of the country in Levels 1 and 2.
There are no areas in the lowest and highest levels.
When the new measures were announced, Sturgeon suggested some areas – “East Lothian in particular and possibly Edinburgh” – could move down a level “reasonably soon” while the situation in Lanarkshire, where there was a high level of cases, would be kept under review.
On Monday, she said she is “not be expecting areas to go down a level” but “we are obviously looking at whether there is any case for any part of the country to go up a level”.
The First Minister said: “The number of new cases was rising pretty steeply in the first half of October but that has now pretty much levelled off.
“We are in a far better position than we would have been without the current restrictions in place.”
She added it is “really important we start to see these translate into a significant and sustained decline in Covid cases”.