COVID-19 Pandemic guidance and framework questions: FOI release

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

Information requested

1). Can you please explain what spurs the virus actually means please?

2). Can you please provide information about the criteria by which the Scottish Government will consider this pandemic situation over?

3). I would also like a copy of the Scottish Governments risk assessment for wearing face coverings and the risk assessment or impact statement for the lockdown and the current tiered system.

4). I would also like to know why we have a 5 tiered system that starts with 0 which is not no restrictions, so what has happened to normal, or being able to live life as we did before? Is that something we can never reach again?

5). The UK Government apparently did research that showed that the deaths from the lockdown policies could cause as many as 200,000 deaths. Did the Scottish Government do similar research, if so what did it show?


Some of the information you have requested, relating to impact assessments on face coverings and Covid-19 protection levels, is available from the UK Government website. I enclose the links to the

Impact Assessment (IA’s) for indoor communal workplaces:

Impact Assessment (IAs) for the original levels regulations:

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) on face coverings in shops:

Face coverings in other indoor places:

Face coverings on public transport:

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

In relation to your request for information on the numerical naming of the Covid-19 protection used to denote the five tiers system, as part of Scotland's Strategic Framework, we published the initial allocation of levels to local authorities, and those came into effect on November 2.

COVID protection levels (sometimes known as tier or tier system) set out measures that can be applied nationally or locally depending on the prevalence of the virus across Scotland. Each area has a protection level.

There are 5 different protection levels, starting from 0 to 4. The lowest level is zero, and the highest level is 4. The tier system was introduced so that we were not taking a one size fits all approach.

These levels are continuously monitored and reviewed. The document clarifies that decisions have to be based firmly on the best available evidence, assessed through a process that is open, transparent and collaborative and frequently reviewed so that restrictions are not kept in place longer than is strictly necessary to achieve the aim of suppressing the virus. For the detailed information on the five levels, please refer to the Strategic Framework document available at: (in particular pages; 8-9, 43, 50, and 58-69) or the explanation of the levels of protection on the Scottish Government's website:

Level 0 is defined as "the closest we can get to normality, without a vaccine or effective treatment in place, before conditions will allow us to move to Phase 4 of the Route Map." The Baseline and Level 1 are designed to be sustainable for longer periods.

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):

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

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonablyaccessible to you.

In relation to your last question, we do not hold any information on the Scottish Government's analysis that would be looking at excess deaths from non-Covid harms that stem from lockdown.

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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