FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon fired a warning shot at critics and the Scottish Tory leader in Holyrood this afternoon as she told people not to put words in her mouth.

Sturgeon was updating Scots on the nation’s exit from lockdown and explaining that due to the Delta Covid variant, the proposed route would likely be delayed for three weeks from June 28.

She told MSPs: “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 June 28.

“Instead, it is likely that we 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.”

The First Minister said that would mean the country would have a better chance next month of getting back “much greater normality”. The final decision would be confirmed at Holyrood next week.

Douglas Ross kicked off his response by saying: “People all over the country will be frustrated at the news that restrictions may continue for weeks or even months.”

Later in his contribution, he asked: “Yesterday the national clinical director suggested that this new variant could delay lockdown exit by up to 10 weeks. Can the First Minister tell us is the Government seriously considering moving delaying the move to level 0 until September?”

Before responding fully to his question, Sturgeon issued a warning to Ross – and the media.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon update: Scotland's Covid levels unlikely to change till July 19

“I would ask members and indeed those watching to pay attention to what I’ve said,” she warned. “I think the situation we’re in just now is difficult enough for people – and its difficult enough for people, for everybody watching – without inadvertently, I’m sure, putting words in my mouth that I didn’t use.

“At no point today did I say I thought restrictions would be in place for a period of further months. I didn’t say that.”

The First Minister added that throughout the pandemic she has tried not to commit to specific dates – unlike Boris Johnson, who has just had to delay the proposed June 21 “freedom day” in England. Sturgeon said she would not give “false guarantees”.

“But equally, it’s important not to suggest that I’ve said something that I haven’t,” she added.

The FM explained that she hopes pausing lockdown easing will allow for greater normality later.

“Can I stand here and give 100% guarantee of that? No I can’t, because this is an unpredictable virus that is behaving in times unpredictable ways, but that is what we are working towards,” she told the Chamber.

“These situations are difficult enough without any of us trying to suggest that I have said something I haven’t said.”

The National:

Earlier, Scottish Government figures indicated Scotland has recorded two coronavirus deaths and 974 new cases in the past 24 hours.

It brings the death toll under this measure, of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days, to 7,683.

The daily positivity rate was 5%, down from 5.2% the previous day, according to figures published by the Scottish Government today.

There were 137 people in hospital on Monday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up from 128 on Sunday.

Seventeen people were in intensive care, no change on the day before.

So far 3,531,461 people have received the first dose of a Covid vaccination and 2,470,181 have received their second dose.