News

Foreign travel health rules updated

Published: 07 Jan 2021 19:45

More destinations re-designated for quarantine.

Travellers arriving in Scotland from Israel and Jerusalem must now quarantine on arrival for 10 days.

A significant increase in cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in these countries as well as a rise in the numbers of cases testing positive, and the associated risk of importation into Scotland has led to the decisions to remove exemption status.

The current additional restrictions in relation to South Africa are to remain in place and will be reviewed should new information become available on progress by the South African authorities to contain the outbreak.  

Botswana, Mauritius and Seychelles are also being removed from the list of destinations exempt from quarantine on arrival in Scotland in light of the spread of the South African variant. Travel from those countries, as well as Angola, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe will become subject to the additional measures in place for South Africa, including a travel ban for arrivals other than British nationals and those with a right to reside in the UK, enforced by the UK Government using reserved immigration powers. 

All of these changes take effect from 0400 on Saturday 9 January.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said:

“It is our priority to disrupt the spread of this virus which remains a significant challenge in Scotland and across the world. A critical line of defence in managing the risk of imported cases from countries with high risks of transmission is imposing quarantine restrictions.

"The decisions to remove countries from our travel exemption list have been taken on clinical advice to help further safeguard public health and keep our communities safe.”

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said:

“My clinical view, is that the risk associated with the South African variant remains severe, and that these measures should remain in place.  It is also imperative that anybody who has recently travelled from any of the countries in the region, and their household, should self-isolate for 10 days and follow the guidance laid out by the Scottish Government. If needed, they should contact NHS 24.”

Background

Public health rules for international travel are an important part of Scotland’s wider response to the pandemic to limit the introduction of new chains of transmission.

All international travellers arriving into Scotland, apart from a very limited number of individual exemptions, must complete a passenger locator form and provide evidence that they have done so on arrival in the UK if requested to do so by a Border Force official. This includes people arriving from countries where quarantine is subsequently not required.

Failure to do so can also result in a fine since this, along with any failure to self-isolate where required, poses a significant risk to wider public health across Scotland.

Individuals who do not complete the form and present it when asked on arrival may be fined £60. The fine can be doubled for each subsequent offence up to a maximum of £480.

Failure to comply with the requirement to quarantine may result in a fine of more than £480.

Those travelling abroad should check in advance for any local requirements to quarantine on arrival at their destination. Further information about the foreign travel public health rules, including quarantine requirements, can be read on the Scottish Government website. This includes the existing list of overseas destinations where those arriving in Scotland are exempt from self-isolation.