COVID-19 death statistics and implications for changes to restrictions: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

  • Given that zero people died where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate a FOISA 2002 request to ask for the mean age of death (and standard deviation) together the median age of death will obviously not be required.

  • What is the recorded date when the Scottish Government will revisit the additional lockdown measures (e.g. closure of hospitality organisation that sell alcohol, curfews, the use of facemasks in communal areas of hospitality organisations etc) with a view to reversing these measures?


Given the highly infectious nature of the virus and the need to balance the public health and other harms it causes, we know it is not feasible at this stage to eliminate transmission risks entirely. Therefore, we must maintain our focus on rapidly identifying index cases, undertaking contact tracing, and putting in place measures containing clusters/outbreaks. We must also examine the circumstances giving rise to the cluster/outbreak and explore whether enforcement or further preventative measures are required to avoid them arising again.

Decisions to impose local restrictions are never taken lightly. Any restrictions need to be proportionate and tailored to that outbreak. They are kept under constant review to ensure that they are held in place no longer than they are absolutely necessary. The restrictions are recommended by the National Incident Management Team chaired by Public Health Scotland. It is essential that local interventions are targeted to the nature and extent of the public health risk with due regard to the four harms set out
in our COVID-19 framework for decision making. The four harms include societal impacts - acknowledging that restrictions can impact people's well-being - as well as direct COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 health impacts and the effect on our economy. Further details of this and how these are considered in our decision-making are provided on our website at

As you are aware, on 23 October, the First Minister announced that Scotland would be moving to a new strategic approach to suppress the virus, based on five levels of protection, with the publication of our Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland's Strategic Framework. This tier system was introduced so that we were not taking a one size fits all approach. This new Strategic Framework allows for rapid but proportionate responses on both a local and national basis using a transparent range of measures and options: 

The explanation of the tier system can be found at:

The current restrictions for local areas are being reviewed this morning and will be announced by the First Minister in her daily statement this afternoon. The previous statement is published here: The updated guidance will be announced later today. The tier system will be reviewed weekly. At present, the levels are allocated by the local authority, not the Health Board. However, any measures put in place are informed by the up-to-date public health data.

Decisions on levels are made by Scottish Ministers taking account of all the relevant facts and circumstances available. This includes the use of five indicators used to inform decisions on what COVID-19 level applies to each local authority, details on which are available on the Scottish
Government’s website in our modelling paper (published 28 October): 

and specific slide pack: file://


About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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