NICOLA Sturgeon has said she could ask for the border to be closed if the UK government tries to prematurely end the lockdown.

Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme, the First Minister said she would diverge from the four-nation approach to tackling the coronavirus if the advice she received from her advisers suggested doing so would “protect the population”. 

Asked if she would consider closing the border between Scotland and England, Sturgeon replied: “I don't have the power to close borders, but these are discussions of course we want to continue to have with the UK Government. 

“And on this question of will Scotland do things differently, not for the sake of it we won't, only if the evidence and our judgement tells us that that is necessary. 

“That means if – it is an if, I'm not saying that we're likely to get into this territory – if the UK government took decisions that I thought were premature in terms of coming out of the lockdown then clearly I would want to make sure that Scotland did what I judged was best to protect the population.

“But the virus doesn't respect borders or boundaries and people travel freely across different parts of the UK and that's why I think it has been important, as well as for the simplicity of messages to have as much consistency across the UK as possible and I think that's still the starting point.

“But we all have to take decisions that we judge to be right, it's not political in any way shape or form.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: UK Government 'falling behind' Scotland and Wales

The First Minister also said Scotland is on track to hit its capacity target of 3500 tests daily by the end of April, though she said there were challenges in ensuring these available tests are "fully utilised".

On possible arrangements for schools reopening, she said patterns such as having some pupils attend Monday, Wednesday and Friday and others on Tuesday and Thursday to maintain social distancing or for some to have lessons in the morning and others in the afternoon are among the type of set-ups which may be needed.