FULL lockdown measures are to be reinstated in Helensburgh and Lomond as the nation's grip on the Covid-19 crisis threatens to spiral out of control.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the tighter restrictions - similar to those enforced during the first wave of the pandemic in March - will be brought in from midnight nationwide and will last for the duration of January.

Addressing MSPs this afternoon after Holyrood was recalled following an emergency Cabinet meeting this morning, Ms Sturgeon said she was more concerned now than at any other time during the pandemic.

Mainland Scotland had been placed under the toughest set of restrictions - Tier 4 - since Boxing Day, but the First Minister said those restrictions may not be sufficient to bring the R number back below one.

People will only be allowed to leave home for essential purposes and an extension to the new lockdown measures has not been ruled out.

From tomorrow a maximum of two people from up to two households will be able to meet outdoors. Strict travel restrictions remain in place.

The latest action comes after the number of daily cases in Scotland has soared in recent days – with around half of the new infections being caused by the more easily-spread strain of Covid-19, thought to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible.

On Sunday, 2,464 new cases were confirmed over the last 24-hour period, an increase from Saturday’s 2,137 cases. A total of 2,539 new cases were confirmed on New Year’s Day and 2,622 on Hogmanay.

The daily test positivity rate is now at 15.2 per cent – up from 10.8 per cent on Saturday.

Schools had been set to re-open in Scotland on January 18 after the Christmas holidays were extended and a week of remote learning was ordered, but that has now been extended until February 1. The majority of pupils will work online until then.

Ms Sturgeon described the “rapid increase” in daily case numbers of Covid-19 as “of very serious concern”, warning that “we must take all steps to slow spread while vaccination progresses”.

She also said the responsibility of government "must be to act quickly and decisively in the national interest".