Summary of the Regulations
It is critical for the Scottish Government to take all reasonable steps to prevent the community transmission of the disease, where possible. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been declared by the World Health Organisation a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. These measures are deemed necessary to limit the further spread of the disease.
The Regulations provide for measures in respect of international travellers arriving from outside the Common Travel Area (or within it if outside it in the previous 14 days prior to their arrival) or from a non-exempt country or territory at the UK Border in Scotland, or elsewhere in the UK and then travelling on to Scotland, in order to reduce the risk of the introduction of new infections of coronavirus into the community.
The Regulations contain provisions to require international travellers on, or before, arrival into Scotland to provide journey details, contact details and details of their intended onward travel via a Passenger Locator Form, in order to support “contact tracing”. Failure to comply with the requirements to provide information on arrival at the border, which in practice is collected on behalf of the Scottish Government by the Home Office (Border Force) for these public health measures, is an offence.
The Regulations contain provisions to require international travellers to stay in the premises named in their passenger locator form for a period of 14 days following arrival in Scotland from a non-exempt country or territory (or an exempt country or territory having departed from, or transited through, a non-exempt country or territory in the previous 14 days)at home or in other suitable accommodation, in order to limit risks of transmission. The Scottish Government has produced supplementary guidance to support the Regulations, and it may be noted that the guidance on the measures states that it is important to avoid contact with other people in their accommodation in order to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus.
In relation to the requirement to stay in specified premises, under the Regulations, the international traveller is required to remain in the premises except in a small number of stated circumstances, which include seeking medical assistance, and obtaining basic necessities like food and medical supplies. Failure to comply with the requirement is an offence.
The Regulations make provision for a limited number of exemptions from the requirement to provide contact details and a longer limited list of exemptions from the requirerment to self-isolate. In relation to those exempt from the requirement to self-isolate, these include prescribed critical national infrastructure and other economically essential workers, including pilots, seamen, emergency workers and oil rig workers.
The UK Government has committed to facilitating accommodation for any travellers (asymptomatic and symtomatic) who have no suitable accommodation in which they can self-isolate effectively.
Similar emergency public health measures have already been made in relation to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with the four UK nations aligning their coming into force date on 8 June. Countries across the world continue to implement public health measures to ensure imported transmission of coronavirus is minimised.
Purpose of the Regulations
The Regulations are designed to reduce the public health risks posed by coronavirus by limiting the further spread of the disease, and are therefore designed to prevent harm to individuals in Scotland.
The Scottish Government is satisfied that all of the measures are appropriate and proportionate, but it recognises that they contain extraordinary measures required to respond to an emergency situation. The Regulations therefore contain the following safeguards:
- All measures contained in the instrument are time-limited and will expire at the end of the period of twelve months beginning with the day on which they come into force.
- Moreover, the need for the requirement in the Regulations is subject to a requirement to review restrictions or requirements at least every 21 days and for those to be lifted as soon as they are no longer deemed necessary to prevent, protect against or control the incidence or the spread of coronavirus.
This Impact Assessment recognises the need to keep in sight the changing nature of this situation and will has been reviewed as part of the overall reviewed process cited above.