NICOLA Sturgeon has warned she can't rule out imposing Covid restrictions as Scotland recorded a record high of number of coronavirus cases.

The First Minister told Tuesday's press briefing that 4323 Covid cases had been detected in Scotland in past 24 hours. Ten deaths were reported of people who had first tested positive in the previous 28 days.

The figure for recorded cases represents a new record. A previous daily high, in July this year, was 4234. Hospital and intensive care cases have also increased in the past 24 hours.

Speaking at a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, the First Minister said the daily case figure is "the largest we have ever recorded in a single day".

She said new cases in Scotland have more than doubled in the past week, making this "one of the sharpest rises we have experienced at any point during the pandemic".

And she warned Scotland is now at a "fragile and potentially pivotal moment" in the fight against the virus as vaccinations have weakened the link between cases and serious harm but not completely broken it.

"Even with vaccination we can't be totally relaxed about this surge in cases," Sturgeon said.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon update: Daily Covid cases reach new record high of 4323

"The link between new cases and serious health harms has weakened significantly but it has not been completely broken.

"That means the rise in cases in the last week may well result in people having to go to hospital in the coming days and perhaps requiring intensive care treatment and unfortunately a rise in cases like ... I consider likely to be the case in an increase in the number of people dying. 

"This means that if this surge continues and if it accelerates and if we start to see evidence of a substantial increase in serious illness as as result we cannot completely rule out having to reimpose some restrictions."

Scotland moved to Level 0 of Covid restrictions on July 19 which meant the removal of most restrictions which have been in place throughout the pandemic. 

The majority of physical distancing rules and the limits on social gatherings were scrapped at midnight on August 9 as the country moved "beyond Level 0".

During the briefing the First Minister said she wanted to keep life 'back to normal' and that large scale outdoor events were less a cause for concern for the government than indoor events.

She also suggested schools remaining open would be a priority for her government. 

"Right at the top of that list of things that I do not want to see go backwards is the ability of children to be in school," she said.

"All of us have a duty to try to stem the spread of the virus in other ways so we keep children at school."

Sturgeon also warned with schools returning just last week after the summer holidays, case numbers could increase further.

"I wouldn't expect a full impact of the schools return to be in the figures yet. But I think we are probably starting to see a bit of an impact there."

She later explained that people should not assume that restrictions would be reimposed in the reverse order they were imposed, for instance a return to Level 0 first of all.

"If we had to - and let me repeat, I hope we don't have to (I am not indicating today that this is a definite eventuality.) But if we did have to impose any restrictions we would judge what we thought was appropriate and act at the time and be as limited and proportionate as possilble."

She added: "In terms of the restrictions that are still in place with schools [with secondary pupils required to wear face masks in class] pupils we said the basic mitigations would be in place for at least six weeks after the return of schools... 

"So we are not yet at the point of formally reviewing..we will keep mitigations in place for as long as we think is necessary to provide protection for young people and staff in schools but for no longer than we judge as necessary."

She added: "What is coming up more immediately is the review of the remaining societal restrictions which is face coverings in indoor settings for all of us. The capacity levels on events above which you need permission....and the requirement on pubs and restaurants to take contact details and the requirements on all businesses to make sure they are taking appropriate mitigations.

"The Cabinet took stock of all of that today and I will set out when parliament goes back next week what the decision is on those. I am not going to pre-empt that decision. We will reach a final view ahead of the announcement to parliament next week. But I think anybody can take case rates right now and ask themselves do they a matter of days that everybody can stop wearing face coverings.

"I have spent a lot of time today asking people to make sure they are wearing face coverings....These remaining restrictions are basic restrictions which I think most people...think are worth following to try and keep as much of a break on cases as possible."

Speaking on BBC’s Good Morning Scotland on Tuesday, National Clinical Director Jason Leitch addressed the rising numbers, calling them “depressingly predictable”.

Professor Leitch said that in the last seven days, the country has recorded "about 21,500" new cases, more than double that of the week prior when around 10,000 new cases were recorded.

He noted that the majority of new cases were principally in younger people under the age of 40, and said that he and other public health advisers were “concerned” by a sharp rise in cases.

When asked about the possible return of restrictions because of the rising numbers, Leitch said: “Cabinet will meet today and we’ve given balanced advice, we’ve told the truth about the state of the pandemic.”

He added that in today’s coronavirus briefing he did not expect any “dramatic changes” to be made, but expects “baseline” protections such as face coverings to remain in place. 

Leitch told the BBC: “No, we’re not seeing specific examples of outbreaks.

“There are a few, connected to events usually, indoor events, people gathering in houses or people at weddings, or pubs or restaurants. It’s depressingly predictable.

“We’ve known about this virus for 18 months, we learn more everyday, but fundamentally this virus spreads when people gather indoors with no ventilation too close together, it’s as simple as that.”