Travel quarantine rules will not be changed in Scotland to exempt high-value business travellers, sports stars and performing arts professionals, the Deputy First Minister has confirmed.
UK Government Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Thursday evening that these travellers, as well as journalists and TV production staff, will no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival into England from 4am on Saturday.
The exemptions are subject to specific criteria being met, including that the trips create or preserve at least 50 UK jobs.
Speaking on Friday, John Swinney said Scotland will not be following suit.
He told the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing: “As you may be aware, the UK Government last night announced a number of changes to the quarantine rules in England.
“Those changes exempt certain categories of people working in certain sectors from the requirement to self-isolate.
“I want to emphasise that these are changes that apply only in England and that they do not apply here in Scotland.
“The quarantine requirements in this country are unchanged.
“Anyone travelling to Scotland from a place that is not on the exemption list will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.”
Mr Swinney also announced another 41 deaths of coronavirus patients and 966 positive cases have been recorded north of the border in the past 24 hours.
He said there are no changes to the destinations on quarantine exemption list this week.
He urged people to avoid unnecessary overseas travel and said the Scottish Government will assess the need for “any further sectoral exemptions” at its next review of the international travel regulations, due to be completed by December 14.
In England, individuals will only be exempt when undertaking specific business activity and will only be permitted to meet with others as required by that, the Department for Transport (DfT) said in a statement.
The DfT said sectors such as media and elite sport were also selected for exemption from quarantine as they “require specific, high-talent individuals who rely on international connections”.
The changes are not expected to raise the risk of transmission of the virus within the UK, according to Public Health England.
On the daily coronavirus figures, Mr Swinney said the daily test positivity rate in Scotland is 4.2%, down from 4.3% on Thursday.
A total of 98,686 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up 97,720 from the previous day.
There are 965 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, a fall of 17 in 24 hours. Of these patients, 65 are in intensive care – down by four.
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