NICOLA Sturgeon is to announce "further and urgent action" to curb the spread of coronavirus within 48 hours.

The First Minister said expert discussions were still ongoing, but added: "We are close to a point of decision".

She said: "This is a serious moment for the country."

However she stressed knowledge of the virus was far better than at the outset of the pandemic in the spring, and there was now a test and tracing system.

At the daily briefing, she said she would speak to Boris Johnson this lunchtime to discuss four nations alignment if possible.

She said "a package of measures" designed to reduce the R number, which is currently above 1, would be put before the Scottish cabinet tomorrow, and she would a statement to Holyrood on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman this morning warned six months of restrictions was “more realistic” than a bloc of a few weeks.

The UK Government’s chief scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance this morning warned that the number of new Covid cases in the UK was now doubling roughly every seven days.

If left unchecked this could grow exponentially from around 3,100 today to almost 50,000 cases per day by mid-October, leading to around 200 deaths per day a month after that.

That meant changing course, with a focus on reducing social contacts. Ms Sturgeon said she endorsed that message. 

On Sunday, the number of new cases reported in Scotland was 245, with a positivity rate of 5.4%.