JOHN Swinney has warned that the government could be forced to implement new coronavirus restrictions "very quickly."

According to the latest statistics, 758 people tested positive for Covid in Scotland on Saturday, that’s 12.1% of newly tested individuals.

The percentage of positive cases has now been above 5% for more than two weeks, breaching a key World Health Organisation threshold. That means that by their criteria, the epidemic in Scotland is not under control.

There were no deaths reported, though 22 people were in intensive care, and 210 people were in hospital.

The total number of people who have died in Scotland within 28 days of receiving a positive test stands at 2,530.

Speaking on the BBC's Politics Scotland, Swinney said: "We are seeing a rising prevalence of coronavirus within our community, that's been going on for some time and obviously we are taking steps and made announcements, just close to a fortnight ago, to apply further restrictions to try to reduce the incidence of coronavirus. 

"We have to give that some time to make sure that we see the effect of those measures.

“Obviously these statistics are a cause for concern, and a reminder to all of us of the importance of following the key aspects of the FACTS advice.”

Asked if there may be a requirement to bring in further restrictions, Swinney said the government was keeping the data “under constant review”. 

He added: “If there is a necessity for us to take further action we will consider what steps will be effective in that respect.

"But I think what we've been looking at particularly is the examples of where the disease has been, and the virus has been transmitted, to make sure we can take targeted action to address those circumstances as most effectively as we can.”

Swinney said he was unable to give an “absolute guarantee” that there would be no extra restrictions beyond what's in place for during the school tattie holidays. 

“We're mindful of the importance of making sure that children are able to have some fun in their lives.

"We've taken particular decisions to enable young people to have more connection with other young people because we think it's so important to make sure that they're able to have that play experience, to be able to connect with other young people of their own age.

"So these considerations are very much in our minds.”

He promised that the Scottish Government would endeavour to give the public as much advance notice of any changes as possible, but he warned that events can move "very quickly".