SCOTLAND could be on the cusp of more coronavirus restrictions, with the First Minister expected to announce new curbs imminently.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said that a Scottish Government decision on a new restrictions would be announced “very shortly” as Matt Hancock, her UK counterpart, warned England is at a “tipping point”.

There were 245 positive Covid-19 tests in Scotland yesterday, which amounts to 5.4% of those tested – the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that positivity rates above 5% should be considered concerning.

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Freeman told BBC Breakfast yesterday: “We’re not seeing community transmission at this point, but are seeing large clusters and outbreaks of cases in some parts of Scotland.

“So we’re working this weekend with scientific and clinical advisers to understand what might be the additional measures that we can put in place.”

With cases rising across England, Hancock said there was a danger the numbers could “shoot through the roof” unless effective action, such as a lockdown, was taken to halt the spread of the virus.

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Freeman also said that Nicola Sturgeon had hoped to have a Cobra meeting with the four nations this weekend to discuss measures “to see if we could reach a shared view”, but that the Prime Minister was still considering the request. But Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, said he held discussions with the Scottish and Welsh First Ministers on Saturday.

When asked when the decision on lockdown measures would be made, Freeman replied: “We certainly will have an announcement very shortly.

“Not necessarily today, but definitely by the early part of next week.”

Hancock told the Andrew Marr show that England’s hospital admissions were doubling “every eight days” and would be followed by an increase in the number of deaths.

He said: “We face a choice.

“If everybody follows the rules – and we’ll be increasingly stringent on the people who are not following the rules – then we can avoid further national lockdowns.

“But we of course have to be prepared to take action if that is what is necessary. I don’t rule it out; I don’t want to see it.”

He added: “The first line of defence is people’s behaviour.

“But then, after that, local lockdowns are necessary, and I’ve brought in local action right across different parts of the country where cases are rising. We will support people who do the right thing and we will come down hard on people who do the wrong thing.”

Chris Whitty, the UK Government’s chief medical officer, and Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, are set to unveil the latest evidence on the state of the pandemic to the Prime Minister today.

He’s then expected to host a briefing either this evening or tomorrow.

Both the Scottish and UK Governments are determined to avoid a second full blown lockdown, but rising case numbers may force their hands.

One interim measure could include a nationwide curfew, with bars and restaurants forced to close early.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has made it clear he’s keen to have the city’s pubs shut by 10pm after the latest data showed a sharp increase in the number of positive tests in the city.

A mayoral source told HuffPost: “It’s clear that cases in London are only moving in one direction, we are now just days behind hotspots in the North West and North East. We can’t afford more delay.”

They went on: “Introducing new measures now will help slow the spread of the virus and potentially prevent the need for a fuller lockdown like we saw in March, which could seriously damage the economy once again.”

The prospect of a curfew has alarmed the hospitality industry.

Tim Martin, the boss of JD Wetherspoon, said many smaller venues had already gone to the wall because of the first lockdown.

He said further restrictions would be “even more devastating”.

One prominent scientist said the UK Government should wait until Christmas before bringing in a new national lockdown.

Professor Carl Heneghan from the Oxford’s Centre for Evidence Based Medicine said the rise in Covid cases simply mirrored the “seasonal effect” of other respiratory infections, such as the common cold.

“What we have to do now is slow down,” Professor Heneghan told Sky News.

He added: “I’d be looking at the Christmas break right now – to extend it,” he said.

“Often when we come back in January, there’s a significant rise in deaths – about 5000 per week more than what we see right now.

“And that’s due to the seasonal effect. Therefore, if you’re looking at a break and when we need it, you’re looking at the mid-winter when we might run into problems.

“It would be more explainable to people why we’re doing it then than now,” he added.