THERE will be no changes to Covid lockdown levels across Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said. 

The next full scheduled review of the protection levels will take place next week to decide on the moves to be made on June 28, the date originally planned for all of Scotland to move to level 0.

Sturgeon said it was likely there would be no further movement on June 28 either. Instead she said three further weeks would likely be taken to roll out the vaccine further and further improve the chances of suppressing the virus.

The First Minister said the vaccine was "changing the game", but that it needed more time to ensure that the virus did not get too far ahead in "the race".

READ MORE: Scotland records 974 new Covid cases as WHO positivity threshold broken again

Explaining the data behind the decision, Sturgeon said that Covid cases have risen by more then one-fifth in the past week and are now more than five times higher than they were in early May. She said this was down to the Delta variant.

However, hospital occupancy of Covid patients is only around double the level it was in early May.

The First Minister said this shows vaccination is "weakening" the link between a rise in new cases and a rise in hospitalisations. 

The hospitalisation rate from Covid has fallen from approximately 10% at the start of the year to around 5% now, Sturgeon said.

Speaking to the Holyrood chamber, Sturgeon said it is likely ministers "will opt to maintain restrictions for a further three weeks from June 28 and use that time to vaccinate - with both doses - as many more people as possible".

She said: "Our next full review of the protection levels is scheduled for next week.

"This will consider whether any changes are possible from 28 June onwards – a date when we had hoped we would see the whole country move down to Level 0.

"I will confirm our decision to Parliament following the full review next week.

"However, given the current situation - and the need to get more people fully vaccinated before we ease up further - it is reasonable to indicate now that I think it unlikely that any part of the country will move down a level from 28 June.

"Instead, it is likely that we will opt to maintain restrictions for a further three weeks from 28 June and use that time to vaccinate - with both doses - as many more people as possible.

"Doing that will give us the best chance, later in July, of getting back on track and restoring the much greater normality that we all crave."

READ MORE: Boris Johnson slammed as Delta variant spoils Scotland's lockdown plan

However, the First Minister did say the Scottish Government will "consider whether any minor changes are possible".

"I am aware that - as restrictions have eased - perceived anomalies have arisen, and I understand how frustrating that can be, even though there will be a rational explanation for what may appear to be contradictory.

"And so I can assure you that - as part of our ongoing review of the rules - we will consider whether any changes should be made to address such issues."

The First Minister also confirmed that two further deaths of Covid-19 patients had been recorded in Scotland over the past 24 hours. 

Those deaths came amid 974 new cases. A total of 20,761 new tests for Covid-19 reported results over the past day. Of these, 5.0% of these were positive.

The news comes one day after Boris Johnson announced that England's coronavirus restrictions would remain in place for four weeks beyond the much touted "Freedom Day" of June 21.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson criticised for incoherence at TV briefing on lockdown easing

Instead, the UK Government hopes to see English restrictions lifted on July 19. If restrictions in Scotland are to be lifted three weeks after June 28 as Sturgeon said may happen, the two nations' lockdown easing would therefore coincide. 

The Prime Minister came under intense fire from the Speaker of the Commons for releasing the details to the press before telling MPs of his plans.

Lindsay Hoyle claimed he had been "misled" by the Tory government over their plans. The two men are due to meet later today to discuss the issue