A "phased return" to the workplace will be encouraged for Scots from Monday.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that from January 31 employers should consider a "hybrid" working model, where staff will spend time working both from home and the office. 

Speaking in Holyrood, the First Minister said it would be "counterproductive" to see a mass return.

"We would not expect to see a wholesale return to the office next week," she said. 

"Indeed, given that the level of infection, although falling, remains high, a mass return at this stage is likely to be counterproductive and indeed, to set progress back.

"But we know there are many benefits to both employees and employers and to the economy as a whole in at least a partial return to the office at this stage."

Ms Sturgeon explained how the latest stats painted a much better picture in Scotland. 

Cases have fallen by a quarter in the last week, from 10,000 cases a day to around 7,000.

However, cases in under 15s have increased by 41% and the Scottish Government will be closely following what impact this might have on older groups.

The requirement for secondary school pupils to wear face masks will receive “careful consideration”, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister said the Scottish Government was not currently updating its coronavirus guidance on schools, but advisers were considering the issue on Tuesday.

She said: “On the issue of face coverings, I know young people want to see the back of them as soon as possible.

“But I also know that many young people understand and agree – especially when cases in the younger age group are rising – that face coverings do provide important protection.

“So this is a matter that requires and will receive careful consideration.”

The First Minister also told MSPs that the four UK nations working on new surveillance system to identify future variants of concern, now that travel rules have been changed.

Elsewhere, the requirement for two-meter physical distancing in settings where face coverings are exempt is being reduced to one metre.

The change will apply to settings such as religious services and those carrying out receptionist duties.

And, from Friday, face coverings will no longer be required for any adult taking part in organised activities when they are directly interacting with children under the age of five.

Badges and lanyards with the Distance Aware logo, indicating the wearer would like extra space, would be available to anyone who wants one too.