Scotland was plunged back into a full nationwide lockdown at the start of the New Year in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

Schools were closed to almost all pupils with a return to home lessons rolled-out, and much tougher measures were introduced to make it law to stay at home for all but essential reasons.

The First Minister introduced the new ‘stay at home’ measures on January 4, saying: "I am now more concerned about the situation now than I have ever been since March.

"The situation in the NHS is fragile and it is getting more challenging.”

But when will lockdown end?

Speaking at Holyrood at the start of the month, Ms Sturgeon said the new restrictions will be enforced "until at least the end of the month".

Currently, schools will also remain closed until at least February 1 – but just last week Education Secretary John Swinney said return by then would be “a tall order”.

He added: "The government will look at these questions at the Cabinet on Tuesday and the First Minister will give an update to parliament.”

Irvine Times: A return to in-school learning may be delayedA return to in-school learning may be delayed

On schools, the First Minister today said: “"As soon as we have taken a decision, I will set that out to Parliament. I think that is the best and fairest way of proceeding," she responded.

"I would say we want to get schools back as quickly as we possibly can, it is not in the interests of kids to be out of school for any longer than is absolutely necessary but community transmission has always been a key factor in these decisions."

When will we know more?

Speaking at her daily briefing in Edinburgh today, Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Cabinet would review the current restrictions when it meets on Tuesday.

The First Minister will then give a statement to Holyrood later in the day.

She said: “We will look at the latest data and come to a view on where we are and whether we need to extend the lockdown restrictions to further suppress the virus.”

What success is the current lockdown having?

Speaking at her daily briefing, the First Minister said the slight reduction in case numbers in recent days gave room for “very early” stages of optimism that the rules are working.

However it comes after even tougher restrictions were brought into force in Scotland just this weekend. 

In response to what the Ms Sturgeon called an “extremely serious” situation, further measures have been brought in to stop the spread of coronavirus and limit non-essential contact.

People who live in a Level 4 area – currently all of mainland Scotland – should not leave or remain outside their home, except for essential purposes.

Working from home has become a default position for all businesses through statutory guidance and services, and only those who cannot do their job from home should go into a workplace.

Guidance previously issued to only allow essential work to be undertaken inside people’s homes has also been placed into law.

Ms Sturgeon confirmed coronavirus regulations will change to forbid people from leaving home for anything other than an essential purpose and that police can challenge people for doing something considered not to be essential after they have left the house.

Entering businesses to purchase takeaway food and drinks has also been stopped. Now, premises will need to operate using a hatch or counter at the door. Drinking alcohol in public outdoors has also been banned.

Non-essential click-and-collect services are now prohibited.

Essential services – including clothing and footwear stores, homeware stores, garden centres/plant nurseries, baby equipment shops, electrical goods (including repairs), key cutting and shoe repair shops, and bookstores – can continue to offer click-and-collect services, but must operate with timeslots.

In a statement to Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Wednesday: “The situation we face in relation to the virus remains extremely serious.

“We must continue to do everything possible to reduce case numbers – this is essential to relieve the pressure on our NHS and to save lives.

“Both individually and collectively, these additional measures – in further reducing the interactions that allow the virus to spread – will help our essential efforts to suppress it.

“At this critical and dangerous moment, please: Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.”