The Scottish government has reiterated plans to lift Covid-19 restrictions in the coming weeks despite a spike in cases. What political pressure are ministers under, and how has it shaped decision-making throughout the pandemic?

Scotland’s exit from lockdown appears to be following the same pattern as much of the rest of the pandemic.

The rhetoric from politicians in Edinburgh is notably more cautious than that of their counterparts in London, but ultimately they are all traveling on the same path.

There is an extra set of steps on the Scottish route – moving to level zero on England’s “freedom day” of 19 July, before scrapping most legal restrictions three weeks later – but the destination and determination to reach it are the same.

Scottish ministers may not use words like “irreversible” or “guarantee” in the rather more flamboyant style of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but they still bat away any notion of a delay or change of plans.

Listen to whoever is sent out to do the latest round of interviews, and they generally find a way to glide smoothly past questions about pressing the brakes again.