Shetland will again remain under level one Covid restrictions, the First Minister has announced.
Nicola Sturgeon’s weekly review of the levels was made amid grim warnings about the challenges facing the nation.
While Ms Sturgeon said the tiered approach had helped reduce the prevalence of the virus, she highlighted a concerning rise in the most recent figures.
She said the situation remained “extremely precarious”.
In light of the rising case levels across the UK, as well as the emergence of a new strain of the virus, Ms Sturgeon said further changes may be needed.
“We are considering whether any additional precautions are necessary, including whether there should be changes of the Christmas period,” she said.
Ms Sturgeon said the case numbers made for a “particularly challenging” context in which to review the levels.
No local authorities were moved down a tier.
Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire were among those to be moving up. From Friday, both areas will be under level three, which means travel in or out of Aberdeen, other than for essential reasons, will be banned.
Ms Sturgeon said the situation in those areas had been closely monitored and concluded tougher restrictions were needed to bring the virus under control.
While the vaccination has brought hope for a return to normality, Ms Sturgeon said there would still be challenging times ahead – and the next few weeks may be the toughest of all.
“There’s light at end of tunnel,” she said.
“However the road ahead of us may still have dips and at times that will mean the light will be hard to see.
“The next few weeks may well be one of those dips in the road.
“But even if it is obscured at times, we must remember that the light is definitely there and we will get through this.”
Ms Sturgeon is due to hold four nations talk this afternoon about the easing of restrictions over Christmas.
In England, the Labour party has called for a rethink over the relaxation of rules, after two medical journals said ministers should “follow the more cautious examples of Germany, Italy and the Netherlands” and not ease restrictions over the festive period.
Ms Sturgeon said it was “right and proper” to hold further discussion.
Whatever the outcome of the talks, Ms Sturgeon urged people take the “utmost caution” and reduce unnecessary contacts as much as possible.