Brits should prepare for a "digital Christmas" that will not be normal, a health boss has warned.

The National Clinical Director of the Scottish Government, Jason Leitch, has given a frank assessment of the spread of coronavirus.

But it is expected the rest of Britain too will have to communicate with loved ones online this Christmas.

The news comes as Nicola Sturgeon prepares to detail the five new alert levels to restrict the spread of Covid-19.

Professor Leitch said the introduction of the five-tier Scottish lockdown, due to be formally announced on Friday, would bring the infection rate down, writes the Daily Record.

Prof Leitch was cautious about easing restriction's on people's lives over winter.

Leitch said: “I’m hopeful costs now may get us a more family Christmas. But Christmas is not going to be normal, absolutely no question about that.”

He told BBC Scotland: “We’re not going to be in large family groupings with multiple families coming round that is fiction for this year."

Leitch added: "But I’m hopeful that if we can get numbers down to a certain level we may be able to get some form of normality. But people should get their digital Christmas ready.”

The restrictions currently in place mean people can't visit other people's homes and pubs and bars are shut across central Scotland.

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Leitch said the updated figures on the R number set to be publishing shortly, reveal the rate of replication of the virus should show that restrictions are having some effect on Covid-19's spread.

He said: “Our number will be published either today or tomorrow and I'm hopeful that will be down just a little. It still won’t be anywhere near we’re beginning to see the deceleration of that increase.”

A draft of the new plan on Covid-19 restrictions will be published on Friday.

The country has a number of local and national restrictions.

But the Scottish Government is moving towards a five-tier lockdown structure instead, which will have various restrictions apply to different parts of Scotland based on their infection levels.

MPS will debate the plan next week, and if approved, it will come into effect on November 2.

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