SCOTLAND will emerge out of lockdown to a revised version of the previous levels system by the end of April, it has been announced by the country’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Speaking to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon (Tuesday), Ms Sturgeon said that restrictions would be eased cautiously and gradually, and that people needed to be "cautious, careful and patient".

She added that while the news was "extremely positive and promising", the situation remained precarious.

The plans for easing lockdown will be driven by data rather than by hard and fast dates, including vaccination and the numbers of those in hospitals, and easing will be done if the data continues to go in the right direction.

A gradual easing of some restrictions will take place roughly every three weeks, with hopes that the economy can reopen by late April, if all the conditions are met.

But before the levels system takes effect, some other restrictions will be eased, with schools a priority.

No earlier than March 15 will see the next phase of pupils returning to school, including those in primaries four to seven and some more senior secondary school pupils.

During this time, outdoor contact group sports for those aged 12-17 may be possible and outdoor socialising will be eased to four people from two households; it is currently two people from two households.

It is hoped that the current 'stay at home' requirement will be lifted by April 5 and the final phased return for school pupils will be able to take place then. The numbers for socialising outdoors will then become six people from two households.

Ms Sturgeon also said that by April 5 it was hoped communal worship, with restrictive numbers in place, would be able to resume and the list of essential retailers could be expanded slightly, with click-and-collect resuming for non-essential retail.

Then by the end of April, Ms Sturgeon says that, she hopes, Scotland will return to a geographic variable levels system and the economy will start to reopen, with a "significant number" of businesses able to reopen by this date such as retail, gym, hairdressers and hospitality.

It is hoped that all of Scotland will be able to move to level three on April 26.

She said that this estimated date was given as plans were to offer vaccination to all of the priority groups, including the over-50s, by mid-April.

The First Minister did not announce further details of what each restrictive level would consist of; this is to be done in mid-March, with these sorts of restrictions the ones that will help supress the virus alongside travel restrictions and test and protect according to Ms Sturgeon.

But what the First Minister did say was that she was being "deliberately cautious" and, if the data allowed and showed sign of progress, she would ease restrictions quicker.