One year since first Covid-19 case confirmed in Scotland

Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland
·4-min read

It is now a year since the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Scotland and life has changed beyond recognition from 12 months ago.

The Scottish Government announced the first case of Covid-19 on March 1 2020, in a Tayside resident who had recently travelled from Italy and was admitted to hospital and treated in isolation.

One year on, the country is once again in lockdown and 9,347 people have died with the virus, according to National Records of Scotland (NRS) data.

The first death of a Covid-19 patient in Scotland was announced on March 13 last year as confirmed cases hit 85.

Coronavirus sign
Scotland went into lockdown on March 23 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The patient, treated by NHS Lothian, was an older person with pre-existing medical conditions.

By March 22, three weeks after the first confirmed case, 10 people had died and there were 416 confirmed cases.

All restaurants, cafes, pubs and cinemas had been asked to close and people were told to practise social distancing, with stricter measures for the more vulnerable.

Schools closed to all pupils, apart from the children of key workers and vulnerable children, at the end of the school day on Friday March 20 and would remain shut until after the summer holidays finished in August.

On March 23, the country went into lockdown with strict measures meaning people could only leave their homes for limited reasons, including shopping for food, exercise once per day, medical need and travelling for work when absolutely necessary.

Firs Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Scots that staying at home was “the only way of saving lives” as the number of people infected with Covid-19 continued to grow.

Hairdresser in PPE
Hairdressers reopened on July 15 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

All social events were banned and public gatherings of two or more people, excluding households or for essential work-related purposes, were prohibited, while communal places such as libraries and playgrounds had to close.

Ms Sturgeon announced the first “cautious” steps out of the coronavirus lockdown would begin in Scotland at the end of May last year.

From Friday May 29, people were allowed to meet one other household at a time outdoors in groups of a maximum of eight while some outdoor sports were permitted again and garden centres could reopen.

On July 6, beer gardens and outdoor cafes reopened and lockdown easing continued throughout the month with larger groups permitted to meet outdoors and eight people from up to three households allowed to meet indoors from July 10.

Shopping centres reopened on July 13 while, on July 15, hairdressers, indoor pubs and restaurants restarted business, museums and galleries opened their doors once again.

People enjoyed more freedom over the summer months and were able to take holidays both within the UK and internationally, and schools reopened from August 11.

However, restrictions on visiting other households indoors were introduced in parts of western Scotland after a rise in cases in early September.

School pupils returning to school
Schools reopened to the youngest pupils on February 22 (Jane Barlow/PA)

As case numbers continued to rise, on October 15, Ms Sturgeon announced a new tiered system of five levels, from zero to four, to replace temporary coronavirus restrictions across the country.

The majority of Scotland, including the central belt, Dundee and Ayrshire was placed in level 3 from November 2 with the rest of the country in either levels 1 or 2.

However, 11 local authorities in west and central Scotland, including Glasgow, were moved into level 4, the highest level of restrictions, on November 21, moving back into level 3 on December 11.

By November 15, a total of 5,135 people had died with coronavirus in Scotland, according to figures from the NRS.

Restrictions were eased to allow people to travel to visit friends and family on Christmas Day with up to eight people from three households allowed to meet indoors.

But the country went into a strict lockdown from Boxing Day onwards in response to a more transmissible variant of the virus which had been discovered in the UK.

Schools have been closed to all but the children of keyworkers and those considered vulnerable since the end of the autumn term, with children learning online.

Pupils in P1-3, and some senior secondary pupils who need to do practical work for qualifications, returned to school on Monday February 22, when all children under school age in early learning and childcare also returned to their settings.

However, the vaccination programme has given people hope, with the first jab in Scotland administered on December 8.

By February 10, more than one million people in Scotland had received a dose of a coronavirus vaccine.