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First Minister announces "managed quarantine" for anyone arriving in Scotland

Wed 3 Feb 21

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon announced details of the Scottish Government's plans to extend quarantine beyond the proposed four nation approach.

Addressing the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon confirmed that the virus had almost been eradicated by July last year but had been "re-seeded" as a result of international travel.

She said, "We must guard against that happening again. It is to that end that the four UK nations have already agreed that travellers coming into the UK from countries with a travel ban in place will be required to quarantine in hotels.

This is a necessary measure – but in the Scottish Government’s view, it does not go far enough. Firstly, there should be very few people coming from countries with a ban in place anyway. Second, this approach leaves open the possibility that people will travel into the UK from those countries via third countries. And thirdly, an approach to managed quarantine that only includes countries where new variants have already been identified is too reactive - because often by the time a new variant has been identified through genomic sequencing, it will already have spread across borders.

So the firm view of the Scottish Government is that in order to minimise the risk of new strains coming into the country, managed quarantine must be much more comprehensive.

I can therefore confirm today that we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland regardless of which country they have come from.

Obviously, we cannot unilaterally implement immediate managed quarantine for people who arrive in other parts of the UK before travelling on to Scotland. So we will continue to urge the UK Government to adopt a comprehensive approach. And if they do not wish to do so - as is their prerogative - we will ask them to work with us to reduce the risk amongst people travelling to Scotland via ports elsewhere in the UK.

The First Minister confirmed that more details of the managed quarantine system will be set out as soon as possible.

She also highlighted how "tough restrictions are for our travel and aviation industry" and that the Scottish Government will work with the UK Government "to ensure the sector gets the support it needs until such time as we are able to start to ease travel restrictions."


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