A “four nations” approach will be taken to international travel, Nicola Sturgeon said as she announced new rules requiring incoming passengers to have a negative coronavirus test.
The First Minister said the rules will likely be in place by the end of next week for those travelling to Scotland and England, in response to the risk of new strains of Covid-19.
Until now, the UK has only required travellers to adhere to quarantine rules when they arrive, rather than checking for a negative test before they fly.
The First Minister said the tests would need to be taken 72 hours before the flight and be highly reliable.
Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing on Friday, she said: “The risks of international travel are particularly acute at the moment as new strains of this virus emerge and as case numbers globally continue to increase.
“Indeed, that’s why it is – as of now – illegal for anyone to travel to or from Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose, and I want to reiterate that point right now.
“You should not be travelling within Scotland and you should not be travelling out of Scotland or into Scotland for anything other than an essential reason.
“Last night, the Scottish Government, along with the UK Government, announced a further measure aimed at reducing the risk of importation of the virus – people travelling to Scotland from overseas will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result before they embark upon their journey.”
She said the current quarantine rules, where public health officials check on a percentage of passengers after they arrive, will also continue.
Saying travellers will have to show evidence of their negative result before they fly, Ms Sturgeon added: “Air carriers will have a role to play here but then coming into the country it will be Border Force that is doing checks.
“Border Force is of course reserved and therefore I think it is positive that we are now moving forward on a proposal like this on a four nations basis.”
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