Coronavirus (COVID-19): Route Map - supporting evidence for the October 2020 review

Supporting evidence to inform decisions about timings of changes within Phase 3 as set out at the review point on 15 October 2020.

This document is part of a collection


Scotland's Route Map, published on 21 May, describes an evidence-led, transparent and phased approach to varying restrictions. To judge whether and when restrictions can be changed, a range of evidence will be considered on the progress of the pandemic in Scotland including what we know about the reproduction rate of the virus and data on the number of infectious cases.

On 15 October we were within Phase 3 of our Route Map and the criteria for entering Phase 3 were:

  • R is consistently low and the number of infectious cases is showing a sustained decline.
  • WHO six criteria for easing restrictions must be met.
  • Any signs of resurgence are closely monitored as part of enhanced community surveillance.

Box 1 below shows the relevant WHO criteria:

Box 1: World Health Organisation: six key criteria for easing restrictions

1. Evidence shows that COVID-19 transmission is controlled.

2. Sufficient public health and health system capacities are in place to identify, isolate, test and treat all cases, and to trace and quarantine contacts.

3. Outbreak risks are minimized in high vulnerability settings, such as long-term care facilities (i.e. nursing homes, rehabilitative and mental health centres) and congregate settings.

4. Preventive measures are established in workplaces, with physical distancing, handwashing facilities and respiratory etiquette in place, and potentially thermal monitoring.

5. Manage the risk of exporting and importing cases from communities with high-risks of transmission.

6. Communities have a voice, are informed, engaged and participatory in the transition.

The criterion which must be met before a move into Phase 4 is as follows:

"[The] virus is no longer considered a significant threat to public health."

This demanding condition reflects the risks associated with the easing of restrictions that would take place in Phase 4 in the event that the virus continued to represent a public health threat.

Supporting evidence for the move into Phase 1 was published on 28 May; for the move into Phase 2 on 19 June; and for Phase 3 on 14 July. Supporting evidence for the decision to remain in Phase 3 was also published on 4, 29 August, 25 September and 13 October.

This current document contains information compiled by the Scottish Government to inform decisions at the review of 15 October.

The data on the R value is sourced from published on 8 October. This sets out Scottish Government modelling of the spread and level of COVID-19 using data from the week up to 2 October 2020 compiled via epidemiological modelling.

The evidence on supplementary measures has been compiled from a range of data sources including the daily data published on the Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): daily data for Scotland web page and from Public Health Scotland and National Records of Scotland. This evidence is based on the available published data at 12 October.

The phase criteria in the Route Map have been set to ensure safe progress between phases and confidence in the ensuing re-opening of the economy and broader society. The Phase 3 criteria were judged to have been met at the 9th July review point, enabling the move to Phase 3 thereafter. Meeting those criteria involved suppressing the virus to low levels through a sustained decline in infectious cases and a consistently low R number. We continue to monitor performance against these two aspects of the phase criteria and against the broader WHO conditions that also form part of the phase criteria.

Evidence of progress against each of the Phase criteria is set out below.

The data set out in this publication are those that were available ahead of the measures announced on 15 October to inform the relevant decisions (more recent data have been published since then).



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