Scotland’s coronavirus lockdown is to be extended, with Nicola Sturgeon warning it would be “very risky” to make changes too quickly.
By law, the social distancing measures across the UK have to be reviewed every three weeks.
However, the first minster said it was too soon to make major changes without risking a resurgence of the virus.
Lockdown is likely to be extended UK-wide, although Boris Johnson is to set out plans for the future on Sunday.
Ms Sturgeon said she was due to speak to the prime minister later on Thursday, and said she “will not be pressured into lifting restrictions prematurely, until I am as certain as I can be that we will not be risking a resurgence in infection rates”.
She said her preference was for the four nations of the UK to move together, but said any decisions “must be taken with great care”.
Ms Sturgeon said she would “continue to err on the side of caution”.
Earlier in the day, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman told Holyrood’s health committee that the infection rate in Scotland remained too high to give much room for manoeuvre.
Ms Sturgeon said it was thought the infection rate in Scotland “might still be higher than in other parts of the UK”, possibly reflecting the fact that the first cases of Covid-19 north of the border came later than in England.
She said: “Extreme caution is required at this critical juncture to avoid a rapid resurgence of the virus.
“It is not an exaggeration to say decisions now are a matter of life and death.”
Ms Sturgeon said it would be possible to make changes to the regulations before the next review date “if the evidence suggests it is safe to do so”.
The Scottish government has published a paper of options for starting to lift restrictions, although no dates are suggested.
Ms Sturgeon said she “may be prepared to agree to a change to guidance limiting outdoor exercise to once a day only”. It has been rumoured that such a move is being considered by UK ministers.
However, she said this “would not change the overall message” that people should remain close to home and not mix with other households.
She said it could be “a catastrophic mistake” to lift the “stay at home” message, and that it should remain in place “for the foreseeable future”.
Scotland’s coronavirus deaths
It is expected Mr Johnson will scrap the “stay at home” message in his address to the nation on Sunday evening, with Public Health England “reviewing all communications materials in anticipation of moving to the next phase of the government campaign”.
While most restrictions are expected to remain in place, the prime minister has suggested some measures could start being eased from Monday.
Ms Sturgeon said she was “very clear that it is my preference for all four nations to make changes together, at the same pace, because that helps us give clear, consistent messages to you the public”.
But she said “we can decide in an entirely grown up way if we are at different stages and want to go different ways”.
She said: “If the prime minister wants to move at a faster pace for England, that is his right.
“But I hope you understand and agree that I must make judgements, informed by the evidence, that are right and safe for Scotland.
“I will not be pressurised into lifting restrictions prematurely until I am as certain as I can be that we will not be risking a resurgence in infection rates.”