Timeline of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland

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This timeline focuses on Scotland’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and includes all major developments. Each entry includes a link to further information and/or relevant official reports, policies and guidance.

The timeline will be updated regularly to reflect the ongoing situation.

Please see our Coronavirus (COVID-19) hub for related content and our Coronavirus (COVID-19) data blog for the latest statistics.

31 December 2019

Chinese authorities alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China. The disease was first referred to as 2019-nCoV. 

The first British victim dies of coronavirus onboard the Diamond Princess.

28 February 2020

Governments of the UK publish a coronavirus action plan which sets out a collective approach to the outbreak.

3 March 2020
11 March 2020

WHO declares the virus a pandemic.

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces a £12bn package of emergency support to help the UK .

The first case of community transmission in Scotland unrelated to contact or travel is identified.

Letter issued by the Chief Planner on the relaxation of enforcement of conditions relating to retail distribution in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

15 March 2020

Letter from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Catherine Calderwood, to Scottish health boards about the implications of the move to the delay phase on how to identify and manage cases.

Scottish Government advises organisers should cancel or postpone all mass events of 500 people or more – indoors or outdoors.

UK Government begins daily press briefings.

16 March 2020
17 March 2020

First Minister’s keynote COVID-19 speech to the Scottish Parliament saying “life will change significantly” and emphasising the need for every citizen to reduce all non-essential social contact.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman told MSPs the NHS in Scotland was now on an “emergency footing.”

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces the biggest package of emergency state support for business since the 2008 financial crash.

Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, Europe and External Affairs, Michael Russell, sends letter to Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, setting out the Scottish Government’s intention to pause work on holding an independence referendum in 2020.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell announces £350m to support people in need.

Scottish Government issues guidance for social landlords.

18 March 2020
19 March 2020

For the first time, China reports zero local infections, a milestone in the fight against the pandemic.

In a statement to Parliament, the Scottish Government announces the closure of schools and nurseries by the end of the week.

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney’s speech on managing the impacts of coronavirus on Scottish education.

Speech on the UK Government Coronavirus Bill by the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs Michael Russell.

Chief Nursing Officer, Fiona McQueen calls for additional health professionals to return to the NHS.

Letter from the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Dr Rose Marie Parr appealing to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to rejoin the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) register.

First Minster’s address to the nation warning that Scots were facing the “biggest challenge of our lifetimes” in the fight against coronavirus.

Scottish Government produces guidance for private landlords and letting agents.

The UK government orders all pubs, restaurants, gyms and other social venues across the country to close.

20 March 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a televised address to the nation, says that people should only go outside to buy food, to exercise once a day, or to go to work if they absolutely cannot work from home. People will face police fines for failure to comply with these new measures.

Nicola Sturgeon states: “Let me blunt. The stringent restrictions on our normal day to day lives that I’m about to set out are
difficult and they are unprecedented. They amount effectively to what has been described as a lockdown.”

23 March 2020
24 March 2020

First day of ‘lockdown’.

Cabinet Secretary Humza Yousaf’s speech on Justice and COVID-19 to the Scottish Parliament where he outlines how justice agencies, front-line professionals and other staff are dealing with this emergency situation.

Sea Fisheries Intervention Fund set up to provide emergency hardship support for fishing vessels.

Letter sent to all registered childminders in Scotland from from Children’s Minister Maree Todd confirming that registered childminders should cease all provision besides emergency childcare for key worker families and vulnerable children. 

Joint statement by the Scottish Government and Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) on fair work expectations.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Declaration of a serious and imminent threat to public health Announcement of the declaration for the exercise of powers under schedule 21 and 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

25 March 2020
26 March 2020

Scottish Government produce clinical guidance for the management of clients accessing care at home, housing support and sheltered housing. The guidance is aimed at Guidance aimed at local authorities, Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs) and registered providers, who support and deliver care and support to people in their own homes.

People across the UK start a weekly clap at 8pm to thank the NHS workers and caregivers for their service in tackling the pandemic.

Direction under Paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 14 (Review of medical certificates of cause of death and cremations: Scotland) of the Coronavirus Act 2020 (C.7).

Scottish Government produce updated clinical guidance for nursing home and residential care residents.

Letter from the Chief Medical Officer, Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Social Work Adviser about COVID-19 clinical guidance for social care settings.

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils a package of measures to help self-employed workers during the economic downturn, giving those earning less than £50,000 a taxable grant equal to 80 percent of their average profits.

Scottish Government publishes rules on staying at home and away from others (social distancing) These measures are required by law using powers from the UK Coronavirus Bill.

Scottish Government produces advice for unpaid carers on COVID-19.

Scottish Government produces guidance for campsites, holiday parks, caravan sites, motorhome hire businesses

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock test positive for the coronavirus.

27 March 2020
30 March 2020

Scottish Government issues guidance on the closure of daycare services for children.

Scottish Government produces advice for schools and childcare settings who are providing care to children including information on social distancing.

Letter from the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, Kevin Stewart about guidance on building standards compliance and special measures to enable the occupation of new buildings as a result of COVID-19.

01 April 2020

Scottish Government issues advice for organisations and their staff working in non-healthcare public services The aim of this advice is to support implementation of social distancing measures to reduce spread of Covid-19 within public service workplaces.

The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) summit, due to be held in Glasgow in November, is postponed until 2021.

At least one million people around the world have been infected since the outbreak began, according to figures collected by researchers from Johns Hopkins University.

The global total of confirmed deaths from Covid-19 has passed 50,000, according to the tally of official figures maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

Scottish Government revises guidance on Vitamin D due to people being indoors for much of the day and not getting enough
exposure to sunshine.

02 April 2020
03 April 2020

Scottish Government produces clinical guidance from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) on treating patients with COVID-19.

Scottish Government produces tailored advice for those who live with specific medical conditions. Conditions include: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, IBD; chronic kidney and liver disease; dermatological, neurological, (specific) ophthalmic, respiratory and rheumatic conditions, chronic pain, and rare diseases.

Scottish Government produces advice for livestock keepers on statutory testing.

Scottish Government produces guidance for businesses in Scotland on social distancing, including the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises.

04 April 2020
05 April 2020

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood resigns after making two trips to her second home during the coronavirus lockdown.

The UK Prime Minister  Boris Johnson is admitted to hospital.

07 April 2020
10 April 2020

The global death toll surpasses 100,000.

New domestic abuse campaign launched to highlight the help still available during lockdown. The campaign will will run until 17 May 2020.

12 April 2020
13 April 2020

£50m Wellbeing Fund opened to assist charities, community and voluntary groups and social enterprises.

New National helpline set up to provide essential assistance to high-risk individuals without family or community support.

14 April 2020
15 April 2020

Scottish Government announces its second phase of small business relief funding, worth £120m.

Scottish Government announces the creation of the £3m Aquaculture hardship fund, to support shellfish and trout farmers.

19 April 2020

Construction work concludes at the NHS Louisa Jordan hospital at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow.

20 April 2020
21 April 2020

Scottish Government publishes report on the projected impact of COVID-19 on Scotland’s economy. 

Scottish Government calls on the UK Government to fill gaps in business funding schemes. 

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf announces proposals for the early release of some short-term prisoners.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop confirms that grant funding for the newly self-employed suffering hardship and SMEs in distress will be made available.

In response to the increase in Universal Credit claims, the Scottish Government, in partnership with the Citizens Advice network, launches a new campaign to raise awareness of the financial support available to people during the pandemic.

Clear Your Head campaign launched to provide advice and support to help people cope during COVID-19.

Social distancing regulations introduced in March are confirmed and extended to protect workers.

COVID-19: A Framework for Decision-Making‘ is published by the Scottish Government. The document sets out the position during lockdown and outlines the factors that must be considered as the country moves gradually to ease restrictions.

23 April 2020
24 April 2020

Scottish Parliament holds its first meeting of the newly formed COVID-19 Committee. The Committee is established as a temporary committee for the duration of the emergency legislation which has been enacted to respond to the pandemic.

A national media campaign is launched to encourage people to seek medical help for urgent health issues which are not related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman urges survivors of childhood abuse to continue seeking help from organisations which are still open and working through the pandemic.

First Minister praises manufacturers and businesses which have stepped in to support frontline services by diversifying production lines, increasing capacity and exploring new distribution routes during the pandemic.

Scottish Government announces that Local Hubs will distribute PPE supplies to the whole of the social care sector where normal supply routes have not been successful. These hubs will extend their provision to include all social care providers, and unpaid or family carers and personal assistants.

27 April 2020
28 April 2020

Scottish Government produce guidance on the personal use of face coverings during the pandemic.

The Scottish Government announces funding to support new infrastructure programme for pop-up walking and cycling routes or temporary improvements to existing routes to better enable social distancing.

Scottish Government announce that the
‘Rapid Research in COVID-19 funding’ that funds research projects to increase the understanding of COVID-19, screen potential treatments and support clinical trials will benefit from almost £5 million of funding.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman confirms that all families of frontline NHS staff who die as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) will receive financial support.

The Scottish Government is to convene regular meetings of the Strategic Leadership Group on Oil and Gas and Energy Transition to identify actions to support the sector and its workforce during the pandemic.

29 April 2020

The Scottish Government publishes updated guidance on Domestic Abuse to support the Health Protection (Coronavirus)(Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.
The Scottish Government announces that more than £250 million of funding to close the poverty-related attainment gap and aid learning during the pandemic has been allocated to schools
The Scottish Government announces a further expansion of testing as it was confirmed that the target to reach capacity for 3,500 tests a day across NHS labs has been exceeded

01 May 2020

Scottish Government launches the Caring Communities campaign aimed at people helping those in their communities affected by COVID-19.

04 May 2020
05 May 2020

The National Records of Scotland records the first weekly reduction of registered deaths (for the week ending 3 May)
since the first COVID-19 death was registered in the week beginning 16 March

Scottish Government proposes that as part of the next emergency coronavirus legislation, an additional £19.2 million investment in Carer’s Allowance Supplement will enable a special one-off Coronavirus Carer’s Allowance Supplement in June.
The Scottish Government announces a one-off £75 million increase in funding for Scotland’s universities to ensure they can protect their world-leading research programmes against the financial impact of COVID-19. 

06 May 2020
07 May 2020

The Scottish Government announces a new £5 million programme called ‘Connecting Scotland’ which will offer internet connection, training and support, and a laptop or tablet to vulnerable people who are not already online during the pandemic.
The Scottish Government announces a £100 million emergency loan fund will open on 18 May for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) housebuilders. The loan is aimed at housebuilders with liquidity issues due to the temporary closure of the housebuilding sector.

Scottish Government announces it is doubling its Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund from £45 million to £90 million. The Fund provides grants to SMEs which have been made vulnerable by this crisis. (The funds which make up the £145 million support package are: £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund; £20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund; £90 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund).

08 May 2020
09 May 2020

Scottish Government announces more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be manufactured in Scotland following the establishment of a new NHS Scotland supply chain.

Scottish Government announces that families on lower incomes and older people are to get more support with extra funding for lifeline services to cope with the pandemic.

10 May 2020
11 May 2020

Scottish Government announces the advice on how often people can venture outdoors has changed. As of 11 May, people can go outside more than once a day to exercise. This activity should continue to be undertaken close to home. Those going out to exercise should either go alone or with members of their household.

The UK government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal and has published new rules for staying safe outside your home. These new rules will take effect on Wednesday 13 May 2020. The UK Government stipulates that this guidance applies in England and that people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.

A second Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill is introduced to the Scottish Parliament. It includes emergency measures to protect people facing financial hardship and allow public services to operate effectively in response to the pandemic.

National Wellbeing Hub is launched.  The Hub is a new partnership between national, local and professional bodies looking after the emotional and psychological wellbeing of Scotland’s health and social services workers.

Scottish Government confirms an initial £50 million to help the social care sector deal with the financial implications of the pandemic.

Scottish Government announces that properties occupied by charities can now apply for the £10,000 Small Business Grant Scheme to help with pressures caused by the pandemic. The Small Business Grant Scheme is administered by local authorities. Organisations can apply for the scheme through their local council.

UK Government publishes ‘Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy’: a roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the COVID-19 crisis.

UK Government announces that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘furlough scheme’) will remain open until the end of October 2020.

12 May 2020
13 May 2020

Scottish Government announces that it is working with the National Records of Scotland to produce guidance on how to apply for an emergency marriage or civil partnership during the pandemic.

Scottish Government announces that a quarter of a million packages containing essential supplies have been delivered to people across Scotland facing the highest clinical risks from COVID-19. The free boxes, which include vital food and toiletries, are dropped off weekly to the homes of people who are shielding.

14 May 2020
16 May 2020

Scottish Government announces that shellfish growers and trout producers will receive a share of £800,000 of funding to help make improvements to their businesses to mitigate the impact of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This investment for small aquaculture businesses is in addition to hardship payments of up to £27,000 which were launched as a direct response to COVID-19 in April.

Scottish Government announces £61,771 has been awarded under the Scottish Government’s Immediate Priorities Fund and will be distributed by the Encompass Network to nine organisations across Scotland who provide specialist support services to women engaged in prostitution.

17 May 2020
18 May 2020

UK Government announces an update to Coronavirus symptoms. In a statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers, from 18 May, all individuals should self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or anosmia. Anosmia is the loss or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked.

Scottish Government announces that testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) is to be opened out to everyone who is symptomatic over the age of five

UK Government announces that everyone in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms is now eligible to book a test, ahead of the rollout of the test and trace service

Scottish Government publishes Coronavirus (Covid 19) – enhanced professional clinical and care oversight of care homes. This Guidance includes new arrangements to significantly strengthen oversight of Scotland’s care homes.

Scottish Government announces that Councils will get more support to deal with increased levels of domestic abuse and gender-based violence during the pandemic. New guidance has been developed in partnership with COSLA.

UK Government announces that a new online service will be launched on 26 May for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees, the government announced.

19 May 2020
20 May 2020

Scottish Parliament has unanimously supported new emergency measures in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Bill. The Bill makes changes that will help public services continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic. It also includes changes to support businesses and individuals.

Scottish Government announces its Business Support Fund has been increased by £40 million to provide additional support for key sectors of the Scottish economy.

Scottish Government announces £5 million of additional investment to support tenants under financial pressure during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Scottish Government publishes a COVID-19 Routemap to take Scotland through and out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scottish Government announces that pupils will return to schools in August subject to scientific.

21 May 2020
22 May 2020

Scottish Government announces that community projects are to be given £8 million to help combat isolation. The £8 million is part of the £50 million Wellbeing Fund that supports organisations across the third sector who are helping people through the pandemic.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes urges the UK Government to provide certainty when announcing funding for Scotland to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

23 May 2020
24 May 2020

Scottish Government announces that extra financial support will be given to social care workers in Scotland during the Coronavirus emergency.

Scottish Government publishes information and guidance on Test and Protect as well as specific guidelines for employers.

26 May 2020
27 May 2020

Scottish Government announces preparations for colleges and universities to have a phased campus return in the new academic year.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces the move to Phase 1 of the route map out of lockdown, beginning on Friday 29 May.

Scottish Government publish updated guidance on physical distancing rules for Phase 1 of the Government’s route map.

28 May 2020