Breakdown Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: First Minister’s speech 28 May 2020

This is an overview of the First Minister of Scotlands COVID-19 update covering the move into the next phase of Test and Protect from complete lockdown. It contains a condensed version of all the critical points raised and facts shared. 

It is my interpretation of what I heard and not a script in the complete sense of the word. There is a full script of today’s ministerial statement here. It also filters out all the political, repetitive fluff that happens on most of these updates. 

I do welcome debate to my blog, but any aggression or general being horrid will be deleted and blocked.

Anyone with symptoms (persistent cough, fever or loss of sense of taste or smell) take immediate steps to book a test.

Click here to be taken to the NHS booking service.

If you can’t get online call 0800 028 2816.

If you are contacted by Test and Protect to say you have been in contact with someone infectious, then you MUST SELF ISOLATE for 14 days.

To prevent infection:

Stay two metres apart.

Wash your hands regularly.

Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces.

Opening Statement: First Minister of Scotland

Thanks to everyone in Scotland for their efforts during the pandemic.

Statistics 28th May 2020:

Sustained DOWNWARD TREND in COVID-19 cases.

Positive cases: 15288 – an increase of 48 since yesterday

Patients in the hospital with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection: 1238 – a decrease of 9 since yesterday.

Patients in intensive care with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection: 37 – a decrease of 1 since yesterday.

Patients that have been discharged from hospital after having suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection (total): 3635.

Deaths since yesterday suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection: 12.

The total number of deaths suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection: 2316.

Every one of the people we have lost to COVID-19 was loved and is now profoundly missed, and in the future, we will want to mourn that loss.

COVID-19 is still fatal, hundreds are in hospital with new infections being registered continuously.

Formal Review of Lockdown Regulations

We can now move into Phase 1 of the route map

  • Test and Protect system launched today (28/05/20) to test, trace, isolate, support and protect.
  • R number in the range of 0.7 – 1 (More info on what an R number is here).
  • Reasonable scientific confidence R number below 1 for more than 3 weeks.
  • Modelling shows virus prevalence is reducing.
  • Est. 19000 infectious cases in Scotland.
  • Since the peak number of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection in intensive care decreased by 80%.
  • Since the peak number of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection admitted to the hospital decreased by 80%.
  • Deaths associated with COVID-19 decreased for four consecutive weeks.

Phase 1 – Focus on outdoor activity.

Does not apply to those that are shielding. 

Stay at home as much as possible. Lockdown is only being modified slightly.

Do not use public transport unless unavoidable – travel by bike or walk.

Do not visit island communities, beauty or tourist sports.

From tomorrow – 29th May 2020:

People from TWO different households can meet ONLY if they:

  • Meet outdoors (including private gardens)
  • Small groups – maximum of 8 people
  • Remain 2 metres apart
  • Do not touch the same surfaces
  • Meet with no more than one other household per day.
  • Do not share food.

If you travel so far as to require to use their bathroom, then it is too far. (random rule of the day award)

Certain non-contact sports and outdoor activities can resume (no details on exactly which ones although examples are given: golf, tennis, bowls and fishing)

Sitting and/or sunbathing in parks and open areas are permitted.

Travel for recreation to a nearby location (around 5 miles) – stay within or close by to local area, don’t use public transport unless necessary – walk or cycle.

Construction work can begin site preparation set out in Phase 1 of their plan.

Garden centres and plant nurseries can open some of their services.

Drive-through food outlets can reopen.

A sign showing a silhouette of a man and a woman with arrows stating to stay two metres apart

From Monday – 1st June 2020:

Household waste (dump/ tip) and recycling centres can reopen.

Teachers and other staff can enter schools to prepare for reopening of schools on 11th August 2020. This will be a blended school/ home model of learning.

From Wednesday, 3rd June 2020:

Childcare will be available for a more significant number of children who need it most. For example, children of essential workers and vulnerable children.

Fully outdoor nursery & childminding provision will start to reopen – HOWEVER – the number of children will be limited – guidance will be issued on Monday.

Later in Phase 1: (TIming TBA).

Public services, e.g. respite care, can restart – children’s hearings & critical health programmes.




Question 1, Glen Campbell, BBC Scotland

Does Stay at Home still apply?



Question 2, Gordon Kree, STV:

Supermarkets and garden centres sell clothing, what have you to say to independent retail shops selling clothes having to remain closed?


Supermarkets are open because they are essential, but a clothes shop is not. Look at the route map for the timing of the opening of non-essential retail. Lives won’t be risked unnecessarily. 

Question 3, James Matthews, Sky News:

They had an interview with Jillian Russell the kilt fitter who fitted up to 10 Nike delegates. She subsequently had flu symptoms, travelled to Portugal and had contact with vulnerable people at a retirement party. She wasn’t contact traced – is that an endorsement or a failure of the contact tracing system?


There is trust with public health experts and contact tracers. They have a process for contact tracing. Won’t go into individual circumstances. NS has spoken at length about the Nike conference and has nothing to add to her previous comments.

Question 4, Sarah Smith, BBC News

Spoken to Jillian Russell – kilt shop manager. Have the guidelines for who will be contacted changed and are they different from that which were in place at the Nike conference. 


A contact is someone who has come into contact with someone with confirmed infection and is; 

  • A member of your household (live together or share communal facilities), 
  • Face-to-face contact – within one metre for any length of time.
  • Within two metres for 15 mins or more. 

These rules are based on science.

Additional Question: Sarah Smith: 

The guidance published on 10th March didn’t include face to face contact. Is that a new definition?



Question: Peter McMahon, ITV Border: 

Will info be shared across Scotland to UK border with regards to Test and Protect? Who will be responsible for the testing and such?


Yes. The responsibility falls within local health authorities but is done in concert with each other.

Question: Alan Smith, West FM

Local residents concern that easing of restrictions paired with the weather will see people flocking to their area (the coastline etc.) how confident are you that people will stick to the 5-mile guidelines.


People have so far adhered to the guidelines, and the hope is they will continue. Crowded areas – even socially distant is dangerous; it is the hope that people will use good judgement. If the guidelines haven’t been adhered to, then they will then be set into law, and the phases can also be reversed. 

Question: Fraser Knight, Global

If a person in an office tested, positive would contact tracing expect all their colleagues to isolate for 14 days?


Yes. But if guidance is adhered to in the first instance, then this will not happen.

Question: Katrine Bussey, Ayrshire Post:

Are you worried about the movement into Phase 1?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Scott McNab, Scotsman

Are you worried about the individual interpretation of the guidelines? Do you feel the guidelines are clear enough?


Yes. However, we will adjust them as we go forward if necessary. 

Question 1: Vivian Aitken, Daily Record: 

Cabinet Secretary statement that care home staff shouldn’t switch between different homes. Why is Health Protection Scotland (HPS) advice different? HPS said that if the home has been case free for 14 days and the staff have tested negative, then they can transfer. Eight personnel were transferred from a care home with an outbreak and related deaths to a care home where there have been no cases of COVID-19. 

Question 2: 

When will we see new health advice about restarting of NHS services that have been on hold during the outbreak?

Answer 1: 

No issue with HPS actions as no infected people were moved around. However, if VA wishes further info, then it will be made available. 

Answer 2: 

This will be debated in parliament next week, the framework will be published shortly, then the health service will increase the people they are dealing with and/or start-up paused services.

Question: Chrissy Lovell, The Sun

A public health expert called for clear guidelines on when the couples living apart could resume intimate relations. The route map makes no mention of this. Can you provide a bit more clarity?


The government are looking into this; however, it is impossible to give any specific date yet. Till then don’t be within two metres of each other.

Question: Tom Martin, Express

As one of the activities is sunbathing, does the CMO have any advice concerning skin cancer?


Scottish people are at a higher risk of cancers associated with skin cancer from sun exposure. Advice: cover-up, wear sun cream factor 25 or above, avoid the sun between 1100 and 1500, regular fluids, careful with alcohol intake.

Question: Michael Barkley, Daily Mail: 

What is the average number of contacts to be traced when someone tests positive? What transport is available for those who don’t have access to a car and require testing? Also is accommodation available for those travelling?


Help is available on the Helpline (0800 111 400) for those with any difficulties like this. In the future, there will be the ability for people to be tested in their homes by health professionals. 

Question: Mark McGlaughlan, Times: 

Has Dominic Cummings effectively ruined the 4 nations action plan? 


Dominic Cummings should no longer be in his post, but that is up to the Prime Minister. However, if the PM is taking public health seriously, then he will ensure that Dominic Cummings doesn’t distract from that. Political interest should not be put before public health. 

Question: Derek Healey, P&J

If the UK government reduces the 2m rule so that pubs and restaurants can open will the Scottish government follow suit?


If scientific evidence advises that the 2-metre rule should change then, it will. 

Question: Libby Brooks, Guardian: 

Should National Parks reopen car parks and toilet facilities? What about nearby local businesses? Can they reopen?


National Parks should stay as they are and local businesses, if essential, are only for the use of local people. Do not flock to tourist spots.

Question: Tom Gordon, The Herald: 

  1. What data from the Test and Protect service will be added to the daily briefing? 
  2. How is the safety of the progression of each phase monitored? 
  3. Should we expect downward trends to continue? 
  4. If they increase, what is the threshold for danger? 
  5. Are 3 weeks sufficient to tell whether we are progressing safely?


Yes, data from Test and Protect will be published.

The R number, the prevalence and supplementary info from hospitals and communities about admissions and deaths will be utilised to monitor progression. 

There is a paper published every week on a Thursday that details the current R number and other similar parameters. 

The incubation period and life cycle of the virus mean that 2-3 weeks will allow any effects to be seen. 

The hope is that the downward trend does continue, but if necessary, the situation will be reviewed and appropriate adjustments made to the plan.

A second wave doesn’t only happen at a seasonal change, it can also happen anytime.

Question: Paul Malik, The Courier: 

Will health professionals be considered a “contact” by tracers even if wearing basic PPE (mask & gloves)? Will they all be expected to self isolate? Will anyone be exempt from being considered contacts?


No one is exempt from being considered a contact. CMO: Complex scenarios will be assessed on an individual basis. HS: All health staff under the NHS will be given appropriate PPE at the level needed to safely do their job.

Question: Andrew Learmonth, The National:

Lockdown legislation allows children to move between separated parents. Who would the child remain with if one of them was a contact? And what if one parent was an asymptomatic rather than index case?


If there isn’t specific guidance on the website for this scenario, then it will be added. CMO: It is unique for each individual family. Aiming to break chains of transmission of infection within families. If one person was told to isolate by Test and Protect the rest of that household do not need to isolate as well UNLESS anyone developed symptoms. 

Question: Mure Dickie, Financial Times: 

We published an analysis regarding the excess deaths in the UK, including Scotland. What is your view on this? What does it tell us about the Scottish governments handling of the pandemic?


Excess deaths are higher in Scotland than they are in England, although higher than the government would like. Caution should be taken in comparing between countries, especially during the pandemic. Excess is declining in Scotland for now 3 weeks.  

Question Simon, The Daily Telegraph: 

Are you going to tell PM to be more clear that his statements regard England only? Are you going to raise the Dominic Cummings issue with the PM? How is this weekend going to be policed regarding congregation in parks and beaches?


NS will ask the PM to make it clear that he is only talking about England in his announcements. The PM knows NS’s view on DC as they are clear but won’t be wasting time on the call covering the DC situation. Policing of crowds will be done sensitively and appropriately and enforce that which is stated under the law.

Ending Statement: 

Read or listen to the guidelines stipulated on the Scottish Government website. 

Lockdown fundamentals are more important with the move into the next phase.

Look forward to seeing friends and family this week but be safe.

Happy corgie dog sitting in a lovely green space with grass and trees
A happy doggo to end this blog post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s