Nicola Sturgeon has said a slowdown in the transmission rates of coronavirus show the lockdown restrictions “are working”.
The first minister was speaking as the latest figures show a “stabilisation” in the number of people being admitted to hospital and intensive care.
However, Ms Sturgeon said it was still too early to lift the restrictions.
The first minister said she wants to treat people as “grown-ups” when this time does come.
In her daily briefing, she reported a further 58 deaths of people who have tested positive for the virus. It brings the total under that measure to 837, although many other deaths where the patient was not tested will not be included.
The actual death toll in Scotland is now likely to be well over the 1,000 mark.
A total of 1,799 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, the same number as reported on Thursday, and 189 people are in intensive care, a drop of seven on the previous tally.
How many Covid-19 patients are in hospital?
Ms Sturgeon said her advisers believe “the lockdown restrictions have resulted in a slowing down of the rate of community transmission of the virus”.
She added: “That is positive news and, while we can’t be complacent, that slowdown seems to be reflected in a stabilisation of the numbers being admitted to hospital and intensive care.
“In short, we believe that these restrictions are working.
“We have a long way to go but we are beginning to see signs that the lockdown is working. The first signs of hope are already there.”
‘The virus is spreading much less than it was’
Dr Gregor Smith, Scotland’s acting chief medical officer, said that three weeks ago the numbers of new cases were doubling every four to five days but that rate is now about 11 days.
The senior medic explained that it used to be that every person who caught the virus spread it to three others but now, with the lockdown measures, it is believed the rate is now each person passing it on to just one other.
He said: “The virus has not gone away but is spreading much less than it was.”
In other developments:
- An economic recovery advisory group is to be established to plan how to rebuild the economy once Covid-19 restrictions are eased
- The government is allocating a further £3.5m of support for the fishing industry, bringing the overall level of support to nearly £23m
- The Scottish government has awarded more than 18,000 grants to firms worth about £215m as part of its economic support packages
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman also announced more support for the care home sector to reduce transmission of the virus for residents, and help staff continue to deliver “consistent, compassionate care”.