Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, John Swinney said that the significantly smaller percentage of people becoming infected in Scotland in comparison to England is “strong evidence” that the current restrictions are working.
He said: “I think there's a very important distinction in the data in Scotland with the data in England, and that's demonstrated by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) infections study which came out last week which demonstrated that, whilst one in 40 individuals in Scotland are likely to have Covid-19 just now, one in 25 are likely to have an England.
“Now that to me is the strongest evidence that the measures which have been taken in Scotland are protecting the population from Covid-19, but crucially also protecting our National Health Service from a greater scale of burden than the very high scale of burden that it is currently wrestling with.”
Mr Swinney added that the Prime Minister is entitled to make his own decisions but that officials in Scotland will continue to base their decisions on the data available to them, to ensure that the population and the NHS is protected, while allowing “normal life to be undertaken”.
He did not state whether the Scottish Government is considering introducing harsher restrictions amid the rising case numbers.
Last week the Scottish Government came under pressure to reduce the isolation period in Scotland from 10 days to 7, in line with the guidance in England, and Mr Swinney reiterated on Tuesday that the question is still being actively considered but added that following clinical advice is crucial.
On Monday Scotland recorded the highest ever daily case figure with 20,217 new cases being recorded over the 24 hour period.
There were 1,031 people in hospital on Sunday with recently confirmed Covid-19 and of these 38 were in intensive care.
Mr Swinney said that while the substantial rise in hospitalisation figures is concerning, Public Health Scotland will be publishing data on Wednesday highlighting the circumstances around those positive cases which will give a better idea of the situation.