The option for a post-Christmas lockdown in Scotland “remains on the table”, the Health Secretary has said.
Jeane Freeman was asked what level of restrictions are likely to be in place after the Christmas period, during the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing on Friday.
She said the Cabinet will review coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday before a decision is announced to MSPs.
Ms Freeman said: “Nothing at this point can sensibly be ruled out but we will look at what the information we have tells us, the judgments we think are the right judgments to make, and we will make that clear on Tuesday when the First Minister speaks in the Scottish Parliament.
“Every possible option remains on the table.”
The minister also revealed Scotland has recorded 36 deaths from coronavirus and 744 positive tests 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 4,239.
People in Northern Ireland and Wales have already been braced for lockdowns in the days after Christmas.
Asked about those restrictions on Thursday, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the Scottish Government will “take decisions that will be sustainable for a period into January and February to protect the public interest”.
Meanwhile, car parking charges at three Scottish hospitals have been further suspended until March.
Charges at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee have been suspended since March this year.
Ms Freeman said facilities at these three hospitals are run by private companies, but an agreement has been reached allowing the usual charges to be waived for longer.
She said this will make a “huge difference” to hospital staff and patients.
“NHS workers have done an extraordinary job for us all during this pandemic and still do,” she said.
“So it’s only right that we make life a little bit easier for them.”
Also speaking during the briefing, national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch said an agreement has been reached setting out a clinical definition of so-called “long Covid”.
Prof Leitch said medical organisations across the UK are publishing clinical guidelines on the persistent effects of Covid-19 and best practice for treatment options.
He said “post-Covid syndrome” can be debilitating for patients.
“We’re actively working with clinical communities and patients and families across Scotland to understand how these guidelines can support the care of people with long Covid,” he added.