Today the first minister announced how Scotland would approach the easing of lockdown restrictions, with a focus on ensuring the virus remains under control.
Here are the four key phases outlined by the Scottish Government:
Yesterday, early learning, childcare and school pupils in primaries one to three returned to the classroom. Senior pupils whose course require essential practical work were also able to return to school.
After a minimum of three weeks – and assuming the situation in Scotland continues to improve – the second phase of school returns will be able to take place, however, this is unlikely to be any time before March 15.
Around the same time, there will be a phased return to colleges and universities, with a small number of priority students allowed to attend for in-person learning.
We will also see non-contact outdoor group sports for those aged between 12 and 17 able to restart, with specific guidance to be issued for each sport.
This period will also see the return in socialising outdoors, with four people from two households able to meet.
As of yet, there are no dates set in stone for this phase.
After a further minimum break of three weeks, and again on the basis that the situation continues to improve, the stay at home requirement will be lifted.
During today’s statement by the first minister, it was said this could be as early as April 5.
This phase will also include the final batch of pupils returning to school, as well as places of worship reopening, albeit with a restriction on numbers.
This phase will also allow non-essential retail to resume click and collect, with the list of essential retailers expanded.
The final phase will see a return to Scotland’s levels system, with geographically different restrictions again reintroduced.
This will again come at least three weeks after the previous phase, which could be around the final week of April.
Entering this phase will require that all of the JCVI priority groups have been offered at least their first dose and that the WHO’s six conditions have been met.
This phase will allow tradespeople to carry out non-essential work in homes as well as the gradual reopening of the economy and a return to social activity “at a pace that is safe given epidemiological conditions”.
WHO’s six conditions
- Transmission is controlled.
- Sufficient public health and health system capacities are in place
- Outbreak risks are minimized in high vulnerability settings.
- Preventive measures are established in workplaces.
- Manage the risk of exporting and importing cases.
- Communities have a voice, are informed, engaged and participatory in the transition.