The First Minister today revealed that Lanarkshire will not move into the tightest level of coronavirus restrictions.

However, Nicola Sturgeon said that it had been a “borderline” decision and warned that the situation will be kept under review every day.

And she issued a plea to the people of Lanarkshire to continue to play their part in tackling the coronavirus.

Yesterday, 266 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed in the region which has seen some of the highest transmission rates in Europe in recent weeks.

Ms Sturgeon said of Lanarkshire: “The decision between level three and level four there has been very finely balanced. Lanarkshire has a high number of cases and a high test positivity, and a high number of patients in hospital and ICU.

“However there is evidence in recent days that the situation is stabilising and that is undoubtedly down to the compliance and sacrifices of local people.

Level four is the highest tier in the Scottish Government’s new lockdown framework.

It is reserved for areas with the worst rate of Covid infections and will be used as a last resort to bring case numbers back down to manageable levels.

What will close under level four?

According to details published last week, all non-essential shops will be told to close as well as hair and beauty businesses. Residents will be told to avoid public transport unless in exceptional circumstances. Entertainment venues will also close.

Can I still socialise?

Outdoor meetings are still permitted under level four, in groups of up to six people from two different households.

Will schools remain open?

Yes. But they will be subject to enhanced protection measures.

Can I travel?

Non-essential travel in and out of the level four area is not allowed and residents could be required to stay at home.

“The local councils, NHS Lanarkshire and the police believe they have strong partnership plans in place to maintain that progress under current restrictions.

“For these reasons, and given the severity of level four restrictions, we have decided that North and South Lanarkshire should remain in level three at present.

“However I want to be very clear that this  has been a borderline decision and it is one that we require to keep under review, not just weekly but on a daily basis.

“I would appeal therefore to people across Lanarkshire to continue to play your part. Please abide strictly with all the rules and guidance to ensure that the rise in cases continues to slow and that more severe restrictions can be avoided.