Key dates in Scotland’s battle against coronavirus one year on from first death

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After the first coronavirus case was confirmed on March 1 2020, Saturday marks one year since Scotland’s first death linked to the virus.

Here, the PA news agency looks at key dates over the past 12 months.


March 13
The first Scottish patient dies after contracting Covid-19, two days after the first case of community transmission is confirmed by chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood.

March 16
National clinical director Professor Jason Leitch says elderly people will not be asked to stay at home, as more schools close and the Scottish Parliament suspends public engagements.

March 18
After two more deaths, all schools close at the end of the week while bus and rail operators reduce timetables.

March 23
As deaths rise to 14 with 499 positive cases, the country enters lockdown and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon calls coronavirus “the biggest challenge of our lifetime”.

NHS Louisa Jordan
Workers outside the temporary NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital in Glasgow (Ian Rutherford/PA)

April 8
The National Records of Scotland’s (NRS) first weekly report shows 354 people have died of Covid-19, higher than previously thought.

April 20
An emergency hospital, the NHS Louisa Jordan, opens at the SEC in Glasgow. Three days later the First Minister warns restrictions could be kept in place for the rest of the year or longer.

May 11
The once-a-day exercise limit is lifted but other restrictions remain in place. A BBC Scotland investigation suggests the virus was in Scotland before March, among Nike delegates at an Edinburgh conference at the end of February.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon
Face masks are now commonplace in all walks of life (Jane Barlow/PA)

May 29
Scotland enters phase one of its route map out of lockdown with people allowed to meet one other household outdoors.

June 7
No new coronavirus deaths are reported for the first time since lockdown began.

June 19
Phase two of easing lockdown allows people who live alone or solely with under-18s to meet another household indoors without physical distancing in an “extended household”.

June 22/23
Face coverings become compulsory on public transport. Plans for “blended learning” in schools when they return are scrapped.

Coronavirus – Mon Jul 6, 2020
Beer gardens reopened as Scotland eased out of the first lockdown (Jane Barlow/PA)

July 15
Hairdressers, indoor pubs and restaurants, museums and galleries reopen. Places of worship reopen for communal prayer and congregational services.

August 5
Tough restrictions are reimposed in Aberdeen due to a cluster of cases.

August 11
Pupils return to school.

August 31
Masks become mandatory in secondary school corridors and communal areas. Gyms and swimming pools reopen.

September 1
New restrictions on visiting other households are introduced in Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire.

September 7
These are extended to East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire as Ms Sturgeon says the Scottish Government may need to “put the brakes” on easing lockdown.

September 10
Social gatherings are restricted to six people from two households. The Test and Protect app is launched. A day later, household restrictions are introduced in Lanarkshire.

September 25
A ban on indoor household visits and a “strict nationwide curfew” for pubs and restaurants begins.

October 9
Pubs and licensed restaurants in five health boards begin enforced closure amid new restrictions.

October 23
The new five-tier system of restrictions is unveiled with “cautious optimism” from the First Minister. Each council area will be moved into a level of restrictions dictated by prevalence of the virus.

October 29
Ms Sturgeon says the tiers are the country’s best chance of avoiding another national lockdown.

HEALTH Coronavirus Scotland
(PA Graphics)

November 20
Glasgow, Stirling and Lanarkshire move to Level 4, the highest tier of restrictions.

November 26
The Scottish Government publishes guidance on what restrictions will be eased over Christmas.

Christmas Nutcracker
The easing of restrictions over Christmas were swiftly scaled back (Jane Barlow/PA)

December 19
The Christmas “bubble” policy is scaled back with indoor household mixing only allowed on Christmas Day and a travel ban imposed between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

December 23
Ms Sturgeon apologises for breaking coronavirus rules having been photographed not wearing a face mask at a funeral wake.

December 26
Mainland Scotland enters Level 4 for three weeks.

December 31
Ms Sturgeon urges households not to mix on Hogmanay as Scotland records the highest number of new cases since the pandemic began for the third day in a row.


January 4
The Scottish Parliament is recalled. Schools are closed and mainland Scotland returns to lockdown the next day to combat a new, more infectious strain spreading. Scots begin receiving doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

January 13
A ban on drinking alcohol outdoors in lockdown areas and further restrictions on takeaways are announced.

January 27
The UK death toll passes 100,000. Ms Sturgeon says she is “truly sorry” for mistakes made.

January 28
Large-scale manufacturing of vaccine candidate begins at Valneva in Livingston. If approved, it will deliver up to 60 million doses to the UK by the end of this year.

SCOTLAND Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

February 4
The daily test positivity rate falls to 4.9% – below 5% which the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers a pandemic to be “under control”. Ms Sturgeon says light at the end of the tunnel is “more visible now than at any point in recent weeks”.

February 9
Travellers landing at Scotland’s airports will be forced to quarantine for 10 days – at their own cost of £1,750 with an additional supplement for each other passenger if not alone.

February 10
Scotland’s vaccination rollout passes the one million mark.

February 16
Ms Sturgeon confirms some secondary school pupils and children in P1-3 will return to face-to-face learning from February 22 – but lockdown continues.

February 23
The First Minister announces the stay-at-home order will remain in place until April 5, however more children could go back to school from March 15. She said it is also expected Scotland will move back to the tiers system from April 26, with all areas initially in Level 3.

Rangers fans – Ibrox Stadium
Rangers fans were criticised for celebrating their league win in George Square in March, breaching lockdown rules (Jane Barlow/PA)

March 2
Ms Sturgeon confirms plans for school pupils to return to the classroom.

March 6
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman says there is no evidence a Brazilian strain of coronavirus detected in small numbers in the UK has spread.

March 7
Rangers fans are criticised for breaching lockdown rules with celebrations outside Ibrox Stadium and in Glasgow’s George Square as their league title win is confirmed.

March 9
Ms Sturgeon announces restrictions are to ease from March 12, allowing four people from two households to meet outside – with communal worship also to restart.

March 11
As the WHO marks one year since declaring Covid-19 a pandemic, 9,725 deaths have been registered in Scotland where the virus was mentioned on the death certificate.

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