A route map setting out a phased approach to easing lockdown restrictions while still suppressing coronavirus (COVID-19) has been published by the Scottish Government.

It details a gradual four phase move out of the current state of lockdown.

The COVID-19: Framework for Decision Making gives practical examples of what people, organisations and businesses can expect to see change over time.

Phase three when “things will feel closer to normal” will allow live events to take place with restricted numbers and physical distancing restrictions.

In phase four, large-scale events and mass gatherings could resume in line with public health advice.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, said: “I have set out details of Scotland’s route map through and out of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The current key public health guidance remains to stay at home except for essential purposes, but the route map provides information about how and when we might ease our lockdown restrictions while continuing to suppress the virus.

“The lockdown restrictions have been necessary to reduce and mitigate the massive harm caused by the COVID-19 virus, but the lockdown itself causes harm including loneliness and social isolation, deepening inequalities and damage to the economy. That is why I have set out the gradual and incremental phases by which we will aim to ease lockdown matched with careful monitoring of the virus.

“At every one of these stages, the biggest single factor in controlling the virus will be how well we continue to observe public health advice. Continued hand washing, cough hygiene and physical distancing will continue to be essential as will wearing a face covering where appropriate.

“By doing the right thing, all of us have helped to slow the spread of the virus, to protect the NHS, and to save lives and as a result we are able – gradually, cautiously, and in phases – to plan our move towards a new normality.”