Scotland has recorded its first Covid-19 death in eight days, Nicola Sturgeon said.
The First Minister said that while “even one death is of course one too many”, to have had just one registered fatality of a confirmed case in eight days is “a sign of the progress we have made”.
Announcing the latest coronavirus statistics, she said 2,491 patients have now died in Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19 and 18,384 people have tested positive for the virus – which is up 11 from Wednesday.
The R-number in Scotland continues to be below one, Ms Sturgeon said, with an estimate of just 700 people infectious.
With childcare facilities reopening again as part of phase three of exiting lockdown, the First Minister thanked those working in the sector for allowing parents to return to work.
She also thanked parents and carers for their understanding during the lockdown, and the children themselves who were hit by the closure of nurseries and schools.
“You have all been brilliant and I want you to know that everyone is really proud of you,” she said.
The First Minster also said that from Friday, non-cohabiting couples can meet without physical distancing even if one or both are shielding.
Those who are shielding in Scotland will also be able to visit and stay in holiday accommodation and attend outdoor markets and public gardens.
Ms Sturgeon said she hopes the Scottish Government will be able to “pause” shielding entirely from July 31.
“But I’m aware that it is also likely to be quite daunting, so the Scottish Government will provide more information for you nearer the time and will do everything we can to support you in this transition.”
Ms Sturgeon also announced a package of support for people who were diagnosed with Covid-19.
More than 500 people have had the “traumatic” experience of being discharged from intensive care in Scotland after having had the virus, she said.
Dr Nadine Cossette, a liaison psychiatrist at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, has been commissioned to develop proposals for the support of those who have had Covid-19.
Education Secretary John Swinney also spoke during the briefing.
The Scottish Government earlier revealed pupils should not have to physically distance when schools return in August.
Mr Swinney said work is “ongoing” to have pupils back in schools, which is conditional on continued suppression of the virus and plans to handle local outbreaks.
He also said there would be an £11.2 million “transitional” fund created for the childcare sector to support its reopening, which he said would be done “in line with the reopening of schools”.
He added a workforce support fund, set up by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Childminding Association, would provide grants to support changes caused by the virus.