Nicola Sturgeon provided an update on the Covid situation in Scotland today, fronting a press briefing with National Clinical Director Jason Leitch. 

Just over a week after Scotland moved down to level 0, case rates around the country are beginning to drop. 

It's a stark contrast to the situation five weeks ago, when five of the UK's top ten areas with the highest infection rate were in Scotland. 

Now, there are no Scottish areas in the top 150 Covid hotspots in the UK according to Jason Leitch, and hospitalisations are starting to decline. 

While the First Minister acknowledged the positive signs that the virus prevalence was retreating in Scotland, she continued to urge caution. 

Here's what we learned from today's press briefing...

1. Scotland on track to move beyond level 0 on August 9

Although official confirmation of the next steps of easing lockdown won't come until next week, Nicola Sturgeon hinted today that the Scottish Government was set to stick to August 9 as the next date for lifting lockdown measures.

Originally the first minister had highlighted August 9 as the potential date for lifting the majority of restrictions, but stated this move was dependent on the Covid situation in the country. 

With cases now on the decline, it seems likely that Scotland will move away from the levels system in just under two weeks, with Nicola Sturgeon confirming she was optimistic this would be possible. 

However, while much of life under these proposals would return to some form of normal, base line restrictions, including mask wearing, will remain in place.

The announcement confirming these changes will be made next Tuesday in Parliament.  

2. Covid cases in Scotland drop again

Yesterday Scotland recorded 1,444 positive cases which is a positivity rate of 5.6% of all people tested.

The first minister confirmed that the positivity rate of 5.6% rate is the lowest it has been since June 19.

Case numbers have more than halved in the past three weeks, which is reflected in the change in Scotland's position on the virus hotspot map.

At the beginning of July, Scotland accounted for five of the top 10 covid hotspots in the UK, but now nowhere in the country features in the top 150 UK hotspots. 

472 people are currently being treated in hospital for the virus in Scotland while 63 are in intensive care. 

3. Pregnant women urged to get the vaccine

According to advice from the JCVI, pregnant women should be encouraged to get the vaccine. 

The first minister said that the message is getting vaccinated against Covid will protect both mother and baby, with the evidence of its safety "overwhelming". 

More than 4,000 pregnant women in Scotland alone have received the vaccine, along with "thousands and thousands" of pregnant women "across the world".

4. Vaccine milestone of 4 million people reached

Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed Scotland had reached another vaccine milestone this morning, with more than 4 million people having received the first dose of the Covid vaccine. 

Meanwhile, over 3 million people in Scotland are now fully vaccinated. 

5. The Government will continue to push the vaccine uptake rates

Nicola Sturgeon said the Government will continue to encourage uptake throughout the population, despite being very pleased with the current "quite extraordinary" uptake.

9 out of 10 adults in Scotland have so far come forward to receive their first jag, rates the first minister said she wouldn't have believed six months ago. 

With the drop-in clinics now available in every mainland health board, Nicola Sturgeon once again urged anyone who is yet to receive the jab and is eligible to do so to attend one of this clinics.