News

Foreign travel health rules updated

Published: 28 Jan 2021 19:01

More destinations designated for enhanced quarantine.

Ministers have agreed, on the basis of advice today from the Joint Biosecurity Centre, to place additional restrictions on travellers arriving in Scotland from the United Arab Emirates, Rwanda and Burundi.

The limited exemptions to isolation will not apply for these countries, and everyone else in the household of arriving passengers must also isolate.

Furthermore, from 1300 tomorrow, the Scottish Government will ban aircraft coming from UAE to Scotland carrying passengers.

Border Force will also refuse entry to the UK, using reserved immigration powers, for travellers from those countries who are not British, Irish, or have the right to reside in the UK.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said:

“In Scotland and in countries across the world, the virus continues to pose real risks to health and to life and we need to interrupt the rise in cases. These measures are essential to reduce risk of importation of new cases and strains, particularly associated with the variant identified in South Africa.

“These changes are essential preventative action and address the risk of new variants entering Scotland with the potential to increase the numbers of cases testing positive or reduce the effectiveness of vaccine.

“Whether or not an overseas destination has been designated for these additional quarantine restrictions, our message remains clear that people should not currently be undertaking non-essential foreign travel. People need to stay at home to help suppress the virus, protect our NHS and save lives.”

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.

Following the laying of the regulations, the change to self-isolation rules will come into force at 0400 on Friday 29 January.

From 1300 on Friday 29 January, we will ban aircraft coming from UAE to Scotland carrying passengers.

All international travellers arriving into Scotland, apart from a very limited number of individual exemptions, must possess a valid negative COVID-19 test result and complete a passenger locator form, and must provide evidence that they have done so on arrival in the UK if requested to do so by a Border Force official.

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. Fixed penalty notices can be issued by Border Force and Police Scotland of up to £480 for failing to meet any of these requirements.