News

Foreign travel health rules updated

Published: 17 Dec 2020 16:58

Final planned adjustments of 2020 to quarantine exemptions.

Travellers arriving in Scotland from Namibia, Uruguay and the US Virgin Islands must quarantine for 10 days at home or another address, from 4 am on Saturday (19 December).

A significant increase in cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in those 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 quarantine exemption status.

These latest changes follow what is the final regular review of foreign travel quarantine exemptions, or ‘travel corridors’, for this year.  The next scheduled review is on 7 January, 2021, however the UK Joint Biosecurity Centre will continue monitoring country data, with arrangements in place to manage any emergency removals from the quarantine exemption list that may be needed over the festive period. 

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said:

“In Scotland and around the world, the virus continues to pose considerable risk to life and to wider public health. Requiring people arriving in the country to self-isolate remains our first line of defence in managing the risk of imported cases from communities with high risk of transmission.

“It is essential that everyone plays their part to help interrupt the growth in cases of COVID-19, including anyone who is required to quarantine for 10 days.  We continue to urge everyone to think very hard before committing to unnecessary travel overseas at this time, as well as avoiding non-essential travel to other parts of the UK.”

 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. To allow the appropriate arrangements to be put in place, following the laying of the regulations, the change will come into force at 4am on Saturday (19 December).

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.

Anyone 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.