Nicola Sturgeon has said people in Scotland should be encouraged to work from home until at least the middle of January, amid fears about the spread of the Omicron Covid variant.
Speaking on Tuesday, Scotland’s first minister said this was to “avoid the need for even more onerous” restrictions.
Boris Johnson has not yet asked people in England to work from home, but is set to announce whether further restrictions will be needed at some point in the next two weeks.
Downing Street said Omicron appears to be “more transmissible” than Delta.
The UK Health Security Agency said a further 101 confirmed cases of the variant have been reported in the UK on Tuesday. This brings the total number of UK cases to 437.
Sturgeon said: “For the Scottish Government, our first principle will be to seek to do what is necessary to keep the country as safe as possible, even if that is at the expense of being popular,” she said.
“And, second, we will strive to get the right balance between acting proportionately and acting preventatively.
“We know from experience that with an infectious virus acting quickly can be vital – if we wait too long for data to confirm we have a problem, it might already be too late to prevent the problem.
“In fact, acting preventatively is often the best way of ensuring that action can remain limited and proportionate.”
It comes as Professor Tim Spector said early data suggested cases of the coronavirus mutation are doubling every two days, putting it on course to overtake some of the 11 countries from where travellers to the UK are now required to quarantine to try to stymie community transmission.
New rules came into force in the early hours of Tuesday, requiring all travellers to take a pre-departure test before heading to England. They will not be able to travel if they test positive.
Prof Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, told BBC Breakfast there was “very little point” in having travel restrictions if case numbers exceeded those in red list countries.
Health secretary Sajid Javid told MPs on Monday that none of the Omicron variant cases identified to date had resulted in hospital admission.