When the Route Map was published in May, the number of cases of coronavirus in Scotland was relatively high and community transmission was widespread. Since that time, we have carefully changed our lockdown measures following the Route Map phases, informed by the evidence on our progress in suppressing the epidemic in Scotland.
This careful, evidence-based approach has allowed us to gradually resume a range of key activities and services. This has helped to mitigate some of the broader harms of the crisis and in a way that has enabled continued suppression of the virus to the much reduced levels we see today. When we published the Route Map, we noted that it will be updated as the evidence and information changes. The Route Map must be dynamic and responsive, taking stock of the latest evidence - on both the virus and on the impact of any changes we make - and listening to feedback. That could mean holding some changes back until we considered it safe to implement them. It could also mean bringing some changes forward, when the conditions enable that to happen safely.
The virus has not gone away; in other parts of the world, unfortunately, it continues to spread rapidly. We must remain vigilant to future outbreaks, which we must both prepare for and strive to avoid. The risk of such outbreaks will increase as we continue to open up - our Test & Protect system will be essential in containing them. Nevertheless, the progress that we have collectively made in Scotland by following the relevant rules and guidance gives us reasonable confidence that we will meet the criteria to progress to Phase 3 of the Route Map at the 9 July review point. This would then enable a further, careful easing of restrictions - but it must not feel like a return to normality yet: important restrictions will remain in place to help to keep us safe, protect others and save lives.
In light of the progress made, we consider that it is now appropriate to provide indicative dates for the remainder of Phase 2 and early Phase 3, to assist businesses, individuals and organisations to plan for the changes that will come. These indicative dates are set out in the following table. They will be confirmed when we successfully pass the relevant review points: 2 July for the later Phase 2 measures and 9 July for the early Phase 3 measures.
Our progress to the next phase depends on meeting criteria based on World Health Organisation conditions - to ensure that we do not further ease restrictions unless it is safe to do so. By suppressing the virus in this way, we are building a solid foundation for a stronger recovery as we emerge from the crisis. This requires continued compliance with the rules - hard as that may seem sometimes - because it is this compliance, the sum of our individual actions, that is suppressing the virus and enabling us to recover more sustainably.
24 June 2020