Travellers landing at Scottish airports to quarantine for 10 days from Monday

Craig Paton and Katrine Bussey, PA Scotland Political Staff
·3-min read

All travellers landing at Scotland’s airports will be forced to quarantine for 10 days at their own cost, the Transport Secretary has said.

Michael Matheson told MSPs that six hotels have been block-booked in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, with up to 1,300 rooms available.

The Transport Secretary said the cost to an individual traveller would be £1,750, with an additional supplement for each other passenger if they are not travelling alone, and costs will cover the accommodation as well as two Covid-19 tests during the 10-day period.

The Scottish Government has previously said it would go further than UK Government proposals, announced in Westminster by UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Tuesday, which would only see travellers from “red list” countries required to quarantine.

Matt Hancock in the Commons
The UK Health Secretary announced the UK Government’s position on Tuesday (House of Commons/PA)

“We need a comprehensive approach to restricting international travel,” he told MSPs in Holyrood on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately at the current moment, the UK Government continues to rely on a targeted, reactive approach.”

Mr Matheson told MSPs this “reactive” approach taken by the UK on international travel was “no longer sufficient to provide the protection necessary”.

Given the lack of investigation being done globally into new strains of the virus, Mr Matheson said it is “very hard to say with confidence where the high-risk countries are”.

“That’s why the Scottish Government wants a comprehensive approach to managed isolation,” he said.

The Scottish Government has agreed to join with the other nations of the UK to take the same approach in procuring the necessary hotels and transportation for the scheme.

Mr Matheson said: “Our aim on international travel has always been to work on a four-nations basis where possible.

“We’re engaged with the UK and Welsh Governments as well as the Northern Ireland Executive to agree a joint approach to contracting the transport and accommodation services required for managed isolation.”

He added: “This will have flexibility to respond to the different policy directions we are taking and ensure all arrivals are required to enter quarantine here in Scotland.”

The differences between the systems between the UK and Scottish Governments means travellers could arrive south of the border before travelling to Scotland, if the country they travelled from is not on the red list.

According to the Transport Secretary, around 130 people from the red list travelled to England and made their way north of the border last week.

“We continue to press the UK Government to adopt what we believe is a more comprehensive approach and require all arrivals to go into quarantine hotels,” Mr Matheson said.

“We’ve asked the UK Government to work with us to identify international travellers not caught by this approach so that arrangements can be made for them to isolate in a quarantine hotel in line with the policy in Scotland.

A “range of offences and penalties” are being devised by the Scottish Government, Border Force and Police Scotland for those who flout the new rules.

Along with the new quarantine systems, the Scottish Government has also sought to clamp down on overseas training camps for elite sports.

Now, only athletes and coaches preparing for the Olympics or Paralympics will be able to train overseas.

The decision comes after Celtic were criticised for head off to a training camp in Dubai, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon questioning whether the trip was “really essential”.