There is “potential” for the Scottish Covid levels-based system to be brought in before the end of April if transmission levels remain low.
National clinical director Jason Leitch appeared on Good Morning Scotland and hailed the progress the country had made so far in suppressing the virus.
This could lead to a quicker relaxation of Covid restrictions, and a return to the regional levels-based system earlier than the end of April, which is when it is planned for.
However, Mr Leitch warned that a “cautious reopening” was still the best thing to do so the virus does not “accelerate” away again.
He said: “Every week we stay low the better but that doesn’t mean we should stay like this forever.
“We made a choice in this present version to get to as low as we can before we go to that levels system, that more regional approach.
“We are going at three-week chunks regionally, so if Orkney, Shetland, or the north-east is low, then they may be able to go down to a lower level.
“However, that may require travel restrictions, you can’t do regions without travel so it may be that we keep travel restrictions in a bit longer.
“There is a potential that these dates can come forward however there’s also a potential that these dates can go further back, we don’t know what will happen with schools going back, we don’t know what will happen with the R number, we need to keep an eye on it.”
Easing Covid restrictions
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a minor relaxation of Covid rules yesterday, with people able to meet up in groups of four from two households outdoors from Friday.
In addition, all primary school children are returning on Monday, with secondary school pupils returning on a part-time basis.
Another Covid announcement is due next Tuesday, with a firmer timetable for the reopening of the economy expected.
Mr Leitch revealed that more clarity will be given next week on details about this and the return of the levels system.
He said: “I think you’ll get a little more clarity next Tuesday, the challenge here is I can kind of tell you what next week looks like, I can have a go at what next month looks like but I can’t tell you what June looks like.
“The virus just doesn’t let us do this, we can model but the modelling gets more variable as you get further out.
“Next Tuesday, the First Minister has said and with the advice of us over the weekend, we will get to the point where we can describe what the levels system will look like, the content of them and describe what data we will look at to get into these levels and what this will look at regionally.
“It won’t be levels from a week on Friday.”