This Wednesday marks six months since the announcement of the UK lockdown to combat coronavirus.
It comes as the Scottish Government tightened some restrictions amid a rise in Covid-19 cases.
Here, we look at the key dates in Scotland since lockdown began.
March 23 Scotland’s Covid-19 death toll stands at 14, with 499 positive cases. People are told they will only be allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons, including shopping for food, exercise once per day, medical need and travelling for work when absolutely necessary. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says coronavirus is “the biggest challenge of our lifetime” and the new measures are essential to “slow down the virus and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed”.
March 31 Scotland records its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases at 430.
April 1 MSPs vote to pass the Scottish Government’s emergency legislation on coronavirus. It allows ministers to make changes to the rental sector, the functioning of public bodies and the justice system, including the possibility of releasing some prisoners. Edinburgh’s festivals are cancelled for the first time in more than 70 years.
April 5 Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood resigns after being criticised for not adhering to social distancing advice by visiting her second home.
April 8 The first weekly report from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) shows 354 people have died of confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a higher figure than previously thought.
April 16 The UK Government says lockdown will continue for at least another three weeks. Sturgeon tells the Scottish Parliament she hopes to soon publish a lockdown exit strategy.
April 20 An emergency hospital for coronavirus patients, the NHS Louisa Jordan, opens at the SEC in Glasgow.
April 23 The First Minister warns coronavirus restrictions could be kept in place for the rest of the year or longer.
April 28 The Scottish Government recommends wearing face masks in public in “limited circumstances”.
May 7 Ms Sturgeon says she will not be pressured into lifting lockdown restrictions prematurely, amid reports the Prime Minister is to ease some of the measures.
May 11 The cap limiting exercise to once a day is lifted. The First Minister stresses other restrictions remain in place, despite lockdown easing in England.
May 21 Ms Sturgeon reveals a four-point plan for easing lockdown. It allows Scots to meet people from one other household, sunbathe and take part in some non-contact sports from the end of the following week. The First Minister also reveals schools will reopen on August 11.
May 26 The Scottish Government unveils its Test and Protect strategy, which allows for contact tracing of those testing positive for Covid-19.
May 29 Scotland enters phase one of lockdown easing. People are allowed to meet one other household at a time outdoors in groups of a maximum of eight. They can also sit or sunbathe in nearby parks and travel locally for recreation.
June 7 No new coronavirus deaths are reported in Scotland for the first time since lockdown began.
June 19 Scotland enters phase two of lockdown easing. The latest changes allow people who live alone or solely with under-18s to meet another household indoors without physical distancing in an “extended household group arrangement”. People can also now meet in larger groups outside, while other changes allow greater freedom for those who are shielding.
June 22 Face coverings become compulsory on public transport.
June 23 Education Secretary John Swinney says pupils should prepare to return to school on a full-time basis in August after initial plans for “blended learning” are scrapped.
Sturgeon updates the route map out of lockdown in an announcement to the Scottish Parliament. She gives dates for the reopening of pubs, hairdressers and cinemas, plus the relaxing of restrictions on meeting other households.
July 6 People queue for more than a hour to get into beer gardens as they reopen across Scotland.
July 10 Scotland enters phase three of lockdown. People can meet in extended groups outdoors of up to 15 people from five different households while adhering to social distancing. A maximum of eight people from up to three households can meet indoors. Wearing face coverings become mandatory in shops.
July 13 Shopping centres reopen.
July 15 Hairdressers, indoor pubs and restaurants restart business, while museums and galleries open their doors once again. Places of worship can reopen for communal prayer, congregational services and contemplation.
July 30 Ms Sturgeon says Scotland cannot yet move into the fourth and final phase of easing lockdown restrictions as the virus is still circulating.
August 5 Lockdown restrictions are reimposed in Aberdeen due to a coronavirus cluster.
August 11 Pupils return to school.
August 14 Taking customer contact details becomes mandatory across Scotland for hospitality venues.
August 31 Masks become mandatory in secondary school corridors and communal areas. Gyms and swimming pools reopen.
September 1 Restrictions on visiting other households introduced for people living in Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire.
September 7 The household restrictions are extended to East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire. Ms Sturgeon says the Scottish Government may need to “put the brakes” on easing lockdown after a rise in Covid-19 cases.
September 10 Social gatherings across Scotland are restricted to six people from two households. Test and Protect app launched.
September 11 Household restrictions are introduced in Lanarkshire.
The First Minister announced a tightening of restrictions in Scotland in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. The main changes include the extension of a ban on household gatherings to cover all of Scotland, as well as pubs and restaurants being told to close at 10pm.
Councillors in Shetland have voted in favour of achieving financial and political self-determination for the islands.
It comes amid growing support to give the islands more autonomy, with locals stating they have more in common with their Norse roots than their Scottish ones.
Malcolm Bell, Shetland Islands Council convener, said: “This is something that’s gone on for decades.
“You know we’ve lost control over public health, we’ve lost control over water, we’ve lost police and fire services, it looks like we’re gonna lose care services as well.
“So it’s all going one way at the moment. There is a better way to do it and that’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
Ian Scott, was one of only two councillors to vote against the motion.
He said: “To my mind there is absolutely no call and no appetite for autonomy for Shetland. I don’t feel it, I don’t hear it, I don’t see it.
“I’ve been here for 40 years now and there is absolutely no call for autonomy.”
The Scottish Government passed the Islands Act two years ago and approved a £50m funding package for Shetland, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides two months ago.
Maree Todd MSP for the Highland and islands, said: “The Islands Act came in in 2018 totally transformative, the first time ever the uniqueness of island life was recognised in legislation and within that there is a facility to request more powers and as yet as far as I’m aware, Shetland islands Council haven’t requested any additional powers.
“Certainly I’d be more than happy to work with them if they have specific powers they are seeking.”
Hundreds of students have been ordered to self-isolate following a suspected coronavirus outbreak at a halls of residence.
NHS Tayside’s health protection team is investigating a single positive case of Covid-19 and a “small number” of suspected cases linked to Parker House in Dundee, a private student accommodation.
Close contacts of the positive case – a student at Abertay University – are being contacted.
As a precaution to prevent the spread of the virus, all 500 residents staying at the halls have been told to quarantine until further contact tracing has been completed.
Dr Daniel Chandler, associate director of public health, said: “We know from outbreaks in other university settings across Scotland that the virus can spread very quickly in student accommodation.
“Therefore, as a precautionary measure, we are contacting all residents of Parker House and advising them to self-isolate immediately.
“Further investigation and contact tracing are continuing and we will review this advice in the coming days. It is really important that any residents who develop symptoms book a test as soon as possible.”
Professor Nigel Seaton, principal of Abertay University, said the students are being supported to self-isolate safely.
He added: “The university already has enhanced cleaning and safety measures in place on campus, in line with national guidance, and the campus will remain open.
“We have contacted students and staff to remind them of their personal responsibilities in relation to Covid safety and to inform them of [Tuesday’s] changes in Scottish Government guidance.”
Meanwhile, a number of students at Aberdeen University have also tested positive for Covid-19.
All residents of Wavell House halls of residence within Hillhead Student Village have been told to self-isolate for two weeks unless advised otherwise.
An Aberdeen University spokesperson said: “All those affected are being supported by the accommodation team to ensure they have access to food and other supplies.
“Affected areas of Wavell House are also being given a deep clean. Assistance will be provided to affected students to support the need for them to study online while self-isolating.
“We appreciate this will be an anxious time for many but the safety of our staff, student and wider community are paramount. At the same time, it is vital that we all work together to comply with the guidelines to help keep our community safe and mitigate the risk of further spread.”
The First Minister has asked the Scottish public “again to make sacrifices” to help halt the spread of coronavirus.
In a televised address to the country, Nicola Sturgeon said that we “simply cannot have 100% normality” in the face of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
It comes after she announced earlier that visiting or hosting people from other households in their homes will be banned across the country as cases surge throughout Scotland and the UK once more.
Pubs and restaurants will also have to close at 10pm every night from Friday, while employers should “rethink” bringing staff back into workplaces if they do not need to be there.
Sturgeon announced the new measures earlier on Tuesday before MSPs, imploring people to “stick with this”.
She followed it up with a televised speech in the evening where she accepted the latest restrictions might feel like a “step backwards” – but insisted they “will make a difference”.
In addition to the ban on visiting others inside their homes and the 10pm hospitality curfew, people are also advised not to share car journeys with anyone from outside their household.
Regulations enforcing the changes will come into place from Friday, but Sturgeon urged Scots to comply from Wednesday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also gave a televised address, telling the British public that common sense is the “single greatest weapon” in the effort to suppress coronavirus.
He said there were now “too many” breaches of the rules around Covid and warned the UK faces an “unquestionably difficult” winter.
But the PM made a plea for a “spirit of togetherness” and insisted the country has “great days ahead”.
Speaking after the Prime Minister, from Edinburgh, the First Minister said: “The last six months have been unprecedented.
“They’ve been the hardest many of us have ever lived through.
“But through our collective efforts across Scotland, we did beat Covid back.
“As a result – although too much heartbreak has been endured and too many families are grieving – many lives were also saved.
“But as we enter winter, and with many lockdown restrictions now thankfully lifted, the challenge is once again getting harder.”
Sturgeon said the Scottish Government’s focus is on saving lives, keeping schools open, protecting public health and protecting jobs.
She continued: “It is to safeguard these priorities that I must ask all of you again to make sacrifice – sacrifices for our national wellbeing.
“They are not easy but please believe me when I say they are essential.
“We have decided that from Friday there will be a national curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants. They will have to close by 10pm to reduce the time people spend there.
“And from tomorrow, we are all being asked not to visit each other’s homes, because we know that is often how the virus spreads most easily from one household to another.
“There are exceptions – for care of the vulnerable, extended households, childcare and tradespeople – but generally, by staying out of other people’s houses for now, we give ourselves the best chance of bringing Covid back under control.”
“I will never find the words to thank all of you enough for the enormous sacrifices you have made so far and I am sorry to be asking for more.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
She reiterated the “rule of six” still applies to outdoor social gatherings, meaning six people from no more than six people can meet up.
“And because we know this is especially difficult for children and young people, we’ve tried to build in more flexibility for you,” Sturgeon continued.
“If you are younger than 12, there are no limits on playing with your friends outdoors.
“And if you are between 12 and 17 you can meet your friends outdoors in groups of 6 – but you don’t all have to be from just two households.”
The FM added: “For everyone, adults and children, I know that today must feel like a step backwards.
“But please know that thanks to all your efforts over the last six months, we are in a much stronger position than in the spring.
“Cases are rising but less rapidly than back then.
“Our Test and Protect system is working well – tracing contacts and breaking chains of transmission.
“We have much more information on how and where the virus spreads.”
Concluding her statement, Sturgeon urged people to remember “that humanity has come through even bigger challenges than this one”.
She went on: “Though it doesn’t feel like it now, this virus will pass – it won’t last forever and one day, hopefully soon, we will be looking back on it, not living through it.
“So though we are all struggling with this – and believe me, we are all struggling – let’s pull together.
“Let’s keep going, try to keep smiling, keep hoping and keep looking out for each other.
“Be strong, be kind and let’s continue to act out of love and solidarity.
“I will never find the words to thank all of you enough for the enormous sacrifices you have made so far and I am sorry to be asking for more.
“But a belief I hold on to – and one I am asking you to keep faith with in those moments when it all feels too hard – is this: if we stick with it, and above all, if we stick together, we will get through it.”
Speaking from Downing Street, the Prime Minister said “the struggle against Covid is the single biggest crisis the world has faced in my lifetime”.
He said he was “spiritually reluctant to… infringe anyone’s freedom” but insisted new measures now could help avoid a full-scale national lockdown again.
Johnson stated: “Never in our history has our collective destiny and our collective health depended so completely on our individual behaviour.
“If we follow these simple rules together, we will get through this winter together.”
On new restrictions, he continued: “I am deeply, spiritually reluctant to make any of these impositions, or infringe anyone’s freedom, but unless we take action the risk is that we will have to go for tougher measures later, when the deaths have already mounted and we have a huge caseload of infection such as we had in the spring.”
“We must take action now because a stitch in time saves nine.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
The Prime Minister added: “If we were forced into a new national lockdown, that would threaten not just jobs and livelihoods but the loving human contact on which we all depend.
“It would mean renewed loneliness and confinement for the elderly and vulnerable, and ultimately it would threaten once again the education of our children.
“We must do all we can to avoid going down that road again.
“If people don’t follow the rules we have set out, then we must reserve the right to go further.
“We must take action now because a stitch in time saves nine; and this way we can keep people in work, we can keep our shops and our schools open, and we can keep our country moving forward while we work together to suppress the virus.”
An NHS worker at a prison has tested positive for coronavirus.
NHS Lothian said none of the residents at HMP Addiewell in West Lothian are affected and the prison remains open.
The health board’s health protection team has completed contact tracing around the prison and all close contacts of the confirmed case have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
It said the situation will be closely monitored.
The health board said: “NHS Lothian, the health protection team and HMP Addiewell are working together to assess the situation and ensure that all contingency measures are in place.
“Everyone should continue to be vigilant and aware of the symptoms of Covid-19 and take all precautions, such as maintaining social distancing, regular hand-washing and wearing a face covering where appropriate.”
Cycling in Scotland has increased by nearly 50% in the last year amid coronavirus restrictions, according to new figures.
Between March and August there were 43% more cycling journeys recorded compared with the same six-month period in 2019, according to Cycling Scotland.
Figures reviewed from automatic cycle counters also suggest there was a 33% rise in the number of people on bikes in August against the same month last year.
That increase follows rises of 68% in April, 77% in May, 63% in June and 44% in July.
Cycling Scotland chief executive Keith Irving called the latest figures “heartening”.
He said: “In the past six months, we’ve all seen our lives radically change.
“One of the few positive changes is that more people have returned to cycling or started to cycle.
“We expected that the progressive lifting of lockdown restrictions in most areas would affect cycling numbers and for the second month running we are seeing these increases start to slow slightly.
“As we move into winter, the public health evidence clearly suggests we should try to be active and outside as much as possible.
“Cycling – and walking and wheeling – are great ways to achieve this.”
Mr Irving said cycling has a key role to play in tackling the climate emergency.
He added: “Today’s data demonstrates we need to redouble efforts to limit polluting traffic growth and enable more people to cycle, through infrastructure investment, creating green jobs in our economic recovery.
“To sustain Scotland’s renewed interest in cycling long-term, we need separate cycle lanes to keep people safe from traffic, as well as support for people to access bikes, training and storage.”
Six locations had monthly increases of more than 100%, with one counter in Glasgow (Clyde Street) showing a 199% rise.
Other major increases were recorded in Kingseat Road, Dunfermline (132%), Ayr Road in Newton Mearns (128%), the Clyde Walkway in Cambuslang (123%), Mugdock Wood in Milngavie (114%) and Arbroath Road in Dundee (112%).
The Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme went live at around 100 specialist shops across the country at the beginning of August, with Essential Cycling Skills for families also piloted.
Transport secretary Michael Matheson said: “We should all be pleased to see a higher rate of cycling over the last six months – and we know the reasons why this has occurred.
“Having seen the success of initiatives like Spaces for People and the Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme, the task now is to lock-in the positive changes in travel behaviour we’ve seen recently.
“This is why we have committed to invest over £500m in active travel over the next five years.
“By improving our match-funding offer for permanent infrastructure at the same time, it will help our local authorities make some of the temporary changes permanent where appropriate.
“Coupled with continued investment in high impact behavioural change initiatives, delivered through Cycling Scotland and other active travel partners, I believe we’re well placed to deliver an Active Nation – where more people can walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys.”
Four football pitches will be open to the public as part of a Community Activation Pilot aiming to give more young people accessto outdoor sports.
Glasgow Life has launched the initiative in partnership with four local football clubs and groups across the city.
The pilot will see the charity work with four key anchor groups to reopen pitches in Stepford Sports Complex, Nethercraigs Sports Complex, and Springburn Synthetic Pitch.
With over 18,000 players registered in Glasgow clubs, the plan is designed as a temporary emergency response to the current challenges faced by Glasgow’s significant football community, and with the purpose of limiting the damage to communities by current restricted access to football facilities.
The pilot will see Glasgow Life’s football development team working with FARE and Easterhouse Football Academy at Stepford, Partick Thistle Charitable Trust at Springburn, and Pollok United at Nethercraigs.
By supporting capacity and developing programming with other clubs and users, these partnerships in three key locations will maximise the collective resources available and minimise operational costs, all while providing facility access.
Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “This Community Activation Pilot is part of Glasgow’s ongoing emergency city response to the Covid-19 global pandemic.
“Together with the Council, Glasgow Life has created new models of operation in order to open city venues which can support lifeline services for the local communities they serve.”
The reopening of these three pitches will cater to the large number of teams registered in these areas.
Of the football teams registered in Glasgow, 45% are in the north east of the city, and 40% are in the south.
Daniel Cameron, founder of Easterhouse Football Academy, said: “After the uncertainty of Covid-19 and the lockdown faced by everyone across the country, we’re delighted that this partnership will allow Stepford Sports Complex to reopen, and to give our young people a chance to grow and develop their love for football again.
“We’re all looking forward to working with FARE as a trusted and respected organisation, and would like to thank Glasgow Life and local politicians for their support in developing this Community Activation Pilot to get our kids playing again.”
Jimmy Wilson, CEO of FARE, said: “This is a very exciting development, and we’re pleased to be working alongside Easterhouse Football Academy in strengthening grassroots football in the area.
“By engaging the local community in football and physical exercise, we’ll enable community integration – and we also hope to use this partnership to tackle youth unemployment, by giving young people access to employment and modern apprenticeship opportunities”
Andy Elliott, Development Officer at Pollok United, said: “With the recent rise in mental health issues in the south west of the city, we’ve been working closely with Glasgow Life as part of a multi-agency approach to support young people and their wellbeing. As a team, our main focus is engagement with locals, and we’re looking forward to continuing to build on this and strengthen the grassroots football community at a time when it’s needed most.”
Paul Kelly, Manager of Partick Thistle Charitable Trust, said: “Our contribution to meeting the challenges of this pandemic are well-documented throughout our communities.
“We live in extraordinary times, but hopefully we can demonstrate, once again, that good partnership working, built on trust and respect can provide solutions for the most impossible looking situations.
“We look forward to sorting out the detail with Glasgow Life and getting Springburn open as soon as possible.”
Visiting other people’s homes has been banned across Scotland in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Pubs and restaurants will also have to close at 10pm every night from Friday, while employees should still work from home if they can, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
Announcing the new measures at the Scottish Parliament, she implored people to “stick with this”.
The ban on going inside other homes comes into force on Wednesday, with exemptions for people living alone who form extended households, non-cohabiting couples, childminders and tradespeople.
Outdoor gatherings of a maximum of six people from two households are still allowed, but people should not share a car with those they don’t live with.
With the October school holiday looming, families have also been urged to avoid overseas travel during the break.
Sturgeon said while the majority of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks are in those under the age of 40, a rise is now being seen in the older population.
The First Minister said: “It kills too many old and vulnerable people.
“And for younger, healthier people, while the risks of dying from it are much lower – though not non-existent – it can still result in long-term, serious health problems.
“That’s why action to bring it back under control is necessary – and to bring the R number down again, the action we take now must go beyond the step we announced almost two weeks ago to restrict indoor and outdoor gatherings to six people from two households.”
Sturgeon previously warned Scotland faced a “serious moment” in its battle with Covid-19, with cases rising across the country.
Speaking to MSPs at Holyrood after 383 new cases were recorded overnight, she said the new rules were “necessary and essential”.
She said: “Keeping to all these rules isn’t easy – but they remain the best way for all of us to protect ourselves, each other, the NHS and ultimately save lives.
“All of this is incredibly tough – and six months on it only gets tougher.
“Though it doesn’t feel like this now, this pandemic will pass.
“It won’t last forever and one day, hopefully soon, we will be looking back on it, not living through it.”
Resources will be given to environmental health officials to step up enforcement and inspections in hospitality venues to ensure social distancing is in place.
Sturgeon said: “This decision today means we can reduce the amount of time people are able to spend in licensed premises, thereby curtailing the spread of the virus while still allowing businesses to trade and provide jobs.”
“This is the best balance for now.”
Addressing reports that measures in Scotland could be in place for up to six months, the First Minister said she hopes that will not be the case.
She told MSPs: “It is certainly the case, until scientific developments such as a vaccine change the game in the battle against Covid-19, it will have an impact on our lives.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the new restrictions I am announcing today will be in place for six months.
“By acting early and substantially, our hope is that these new measures will be in place for a shorter period than would be the case if we waited longer to act.”
The new measures put in place for Scotland will be reviewed every three weeks, she added.
The First Minister has announced a tightening of restrictions in Scotland in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
It comes as another 383 new cases of the virus were recorded in the last 24 hours, the highest daily total since April 18, with one death confirmed.
The main changes, outlined by Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament, include the extension of a ban on household gatherings to cover all of Scotland, as well as pubs and restaurants being told to close at 10pm on Friday.
But what is the full list of measures confirmed today?
Pubs and restaurants land curfew
As has been introduced south of the border, pubs and restaurants will have to shut at 10pm from Friday. The Scottish Government’s aim is to curtail the spread of the virus but to allow businesses to continue trading.
“We are seeking to find a balance between action to suppress the virus and the protection of people’s jobs and livelihood,” Sturgeon said.
However, she added if hospitality rules on hygiene, face coverings, table service, maximum numbers and distancing are not fully complied with then further restrictions, including possible closure, will be unavoidable.
The ban on visiting other households, which has been in place in the west of Scotland recently, will be extended nationwide from Wednesday. It will be reviewed every three weeks.
There are exceptions, however, such as for those people living alone who form extended households, non-cohabiting couples, childcare and for tradespeople.
Meeting in public
The rules on meeting other people in public indoor spaces, which are subject to guidance, remain the same. That means no more than six people can meet from two households.
What about outdoors?
The rules of two households and groups of up to six still applies outdoors as well, including in private gardens.
Outdoors, children under 12 are exempt – both from the limit of six and the limit of two households. There are no limits on children under 12 playing together outdoors.
Additionally, young people aged 12-18 will be exempt from the two household limit. They will be allowed to meet together outdoors in groups of up to six, although Sturgeon said this will be monitored “carefully” and stressed this is outdoors only.
Work from home
“Everyone who can work from home, should work from home,” the First Minister said. This will limit numbers on public transport and the gathering of people indoors for prolonged periods.
Sturgeon said if necessary the Scottish Government will put a “legal duty” on businesses to allow home working where possible.
There should be no car sharing between people of different households. Test and Protect data has shown sharing car journeys presents a significant risk of transmission, Sturgeon said.
Talk of a circuit breaker, somewhat of a mini-lockdown, in the October school break has been played down but has not been ruled out altogether.
Sturgeon said no decision has yet been made on this but the Scottish Government is actively keeping it under review.
She also warned: “Given this is a global pandemic, please do not book travel overseas for the October break if it is not essential.”