Coronavirus in Scotland: One year on from the first positive test, here are the 48 key dates in Scotland’s battle against coronavirus

It is now a year since the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Scotland and life has changed beyond recognition from 12 months ago.

One year on from the first positive test, here are the 48 key dates in Scotland’s battle against coronavirus.
One year on from the first positive test, here are the 48 key dates in Scotland’s battle against coronavirus.

The Scottish Government announced the first case of Covid-19 on March 1 2020, in a Tayside resident who had recently travelled from Italy and was admitted to hospital and treated in isolation.

One year on, the country is once again in lockdown and 9,347 people have died with the virus, according to National Records of Scotland (NRS) data.

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But a routemap out of this lockdown has been announced and the vaccination programme is making promising progress.

Members of the over 70s arrive at the EICC to receive their first dose of coronavirus vaccination on February 1, 2021 in Edinburgh.

Here are the 48 key dates from the last 12 months:

March 2020

March 1 – A Tayside resident who travelled from Italy becomes the first person in Scotland to be diagnosed with coronavirus.

March 2 – First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says more than 200,000 Scots could end up in hospital in a “worst-case outcome”.

Covid testing. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

March 11 – The first case of community transmission is confirmed by chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood.

March 13 – The first patient dies after contracting Covid-19.

March 16 – National clinical director 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 Ms Sturgeon calls coronavirus “the biggest challenge of our lifetime”.

April 2020

April 5 – Dr Calderwood resigns after being criticised for visiting her second home while telling Scots not to travel.

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 2020

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.

May 26 – The Test and Protect strategy is unveiled.

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

June 2020

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.

July 2020

July 10 – Phase three allows up to 15 people from five households to meet outdoors, or eight people from up to three households indoors. Face coverings become mandatory in shops.

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

August 2020

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 2020

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 2020

October 2 – SNP MP Margaret Ferrier apologises for travelling to London to debate the coronavirus response in the UK Parliament while experiencing Covid-19 symptoms before testing positive and returning to Scotland.

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.

November 2020

November 18 – NRS figures show more than 5,000 people have died with coronavirus.

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.

December 2020

December 8 – The vaccination programme presents the “beginning of the end”, the First Minister says, as the first jabs are given.

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 2021

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

January 2 – The UK death toll passes 100,000. Ms Sturgeon says she is “truly sorry” for mistakes made.

January 2 – 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.

February 2021

February 2 – Ms Sturgeon says lockdown will continue until the end of February at least. The UK Government offers to step in and help vaccinate Scots amid claims the programme is “lagging way behind”.

February 4 – The daily test positivity rate falls to 4.9% – below 5% which the World Health Organisation 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.

February 28 – One year on, 202,084 cases of coronavirus have been recorded and 7,131 deaths after a positive test.

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