The first minister said the virus was “in retreat but not gone” and urged people to continue to abide by the Scottish government’s guidance in order to prevent a fresh spike in infections.
Ms Sturgeon said that the second day in a row without any registered deaths was “very encouraging”, adding: ”I can’t tell you how long I have waited to be able to report such a development and I know all of you will have longed to hear that.”
Speaking at a briefing in Edinburgh, the first minister said: “Even so, we must still exercise caution. We know from previous weeks that fewer deaths tend to be registered at weekends, so it is still highly likely that more Covid deaths will be recorded in the days ahead.
“But I very much hope that we will continue to see a steady decline.”
She said every figure represented individuals “whose loss is a source of sorrow to many” and extended her condolences to those who have lost loved ones to the virus.
Ms Sturgeon thanked the public for making painful sacrifices by missing funerals or staying away from loved ones during the lockdown.
“I know as you listen to me report statistics that are now going in a positive direction, you will be asking if these sacrifices remain necessary,” she said.
“I share the frustrations at times as well, but sticking with this for a bit longer really does matter. These painful but necessary sacrifices have brought us to where we are today with this virus in retreat.
“In retreat but not gone, and still posing a real risk, especially to the most clinically vulnerable.”
Vulnerable people must continue to shield to protect themselves from the coronavirus, Ms Sturgeon said, extending the advice for people who are most at risk to stay at home until 31 July.
However, she said she hoped to be able to move to offering “tailored advice” on how those who are most at risk should protect themselves.
From 18 June, those who are shielding – unless they live in care homes – are likely to be permitted to leave their home for daily exercise but will not be allowed to take part in sports or meet people from other households.
Ms Sturgeon also said she was “hopeful” that if the suppression of the virus continues, Scotland will be able to move to the next phase of lifting restrictions after a planned review of lockdown next week.
Households would then be able to meet indoors, while pubs and restaurants could open outdoor spaces, and marriages and civil partnerships could take place with a minimal number of attendees.