Nicola Sturgeon has said she does not want to go back into lockdown as Covid-19 cases in Scotland surge.
The First Minister said on Tuesday she could not rule out the re-imposition of restrictions as a new daily high case number was recorded.
Scotland moved beyond level zero on August 9, which saw most legal restrictions removed from the statute book, but Ms Sturgeon rejected the idea that the easing came too soon.
However, the easing coincided with a sharp rise in cases, as well as a rise in hospital figures and intensive care admissions.
New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern took the decision to impose a national lockdown after just one case was discovered last week.
Asked if she favoured a similar approach or the re-imposition of some smaller restrictions, Sturgeon told the PA news agency: “I don’t want to go back to anything like a full lockdown.
“New Zealand is in a very different position – they have Covid cases throughout that have been very, very low, but they also have lower levels of vaccination right now and their borders are still effectively closed.
“They are in a different situation and are therefore dealing with a different reality at the moment.”
She added: “I don’t want to pre-empt any decision that might or might not – and I hope will not – have to be taken about the imposition of the restrictions.
“But if we, all of us, take the basic precautions right now that we know can slow this virus, then I hope no re-imposition of restrictions will be necessary.
“But I also know that no sensible First Minister, in the face of an infectious virus, would rule anything out, because protecting the population has to be the priority.”
When asked if she believed the shift in policy came too early, the First Minister said: “No – in fact, at the time, most people criticised me for not moving out of level zero quickly enough.
“These are always judgments, there’s no exact science when you’re dealing with a global pandemic of an infectious virus.”
The First Minister went on to urge people to take steps to counter the rise in cases.
“This is, as I said yesterday, a potentially fragile moment in our journey through this pandemic and it comes down to all of us, even though life feels so much more normal again, we’ve got to continue to do the basic things and take the basic precautions of hygiene, face coverings, staying outdoors, ventilating rooms indoors,” she said.
“Even though the law says we don’t have to stay two metres apart anymore, if you’re with somebody in another household, keep a safe distance – all of these things will slow the transmission as we head into, what might be, a difficult winter with Covid and other viruses.”