Coronavirus (COVID-19): Route Map - supporting evidence for the 22 September 2020 review

Supporting evidence to inform decisions about timings of changes within Phase 3 as set out at the review point on 22 September 2020.

COVID-19: Framework for Decision Making Scotland’s Route Map through and out of the crisis : Supporting Evidence for the 22 September Measure

Note: This paper sets out evidence and analysis that was available to inform decision making ahead of 22 September. More recent data will be available on the website and at


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.

We are currently within Phase 3 of our Route Map and the criteria for entering
Phase 3 were:

  • R is consistently low and there is a further sustained decline in infectious cases.
  • 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 decisions concerning Phase 3 was also published on 4, 29 August and 25 September.

This current document has been completed by the Scottish Government to inform decisions about timings of changes within Phase 3 as set out on 22 September.

The data on the R value is sourced from Coronavirus (COVID-19): modelling the epidemic in Scotland (Issue No 18) published on 17 September. This sets out Scottish Government modelling of the spread and level of COVID-19 using data from the week up to 10 September 2020 using epidemiological modelling. The latest data on the infectious pool is sourced from Coronavirus (COVID-19): modelling the epidemic in Scotland (Issue No 18) published on 17 September.

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 weekly reports published by Public Health Scotland and National Records of Scotland. This evidence is based on the available published data at 21 September.

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 22 September to inform the relevant decisions (more recent data have been published since then).



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