PLANNED easing of coronavirus restrictions in Scotland is to go ahead despite cases “plateauing” rather than continuing to decline, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister was speaking during a Scottish Government Covid-19 briefing, which are no longer given on a daily basis since the Scottish Parliament election campaign began last week.

Sturgeon said the “stay at home” order would be removed from Friday and replaced with a “stay local” rule.

On Monday, hairdressers and barbers can reopen for pre-booked appointments, click and collect shopping will be permitted and homeware shops and garden centres can welcome back customers. University and college students can also return for in-person teaching and outdoor contact sports for 12 to17-year olds may resume.

The First Minister said she will give further updates in April but that Scotland is on course to ease restrictions further, with cafes, restaurants, shops and gyms due to open from April 26 and more people allowed to meet up outdoors.

The latest coronavirus figures show 12 deaths and 411 positive tests were recorded in the previous 24 hours. It brought the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7596.

Sturgeon said: “There are still no grounds for complacency.

The First Minister said the new Stay at Home rule would be in place for at least three weeks.

Sturgeon also said SNP ministers who breached coronavirus rules are “mortified”. She insisted both John Swinney and Graeme Dey were “in the wrong” and noted they have “rightly apologised”.

Swinney had to say sorry after meeting up with four party activists to campaign for May’s election. Parliamentary Business Minister Graeme Dey was spoken to by police over a second Covid breach. It is believed he asked at least eight for a campaign picture.