Portugal and French Polynesia removed from exemption list.
Travellers from Portugal and French Polynesia will be required to self-isolate at home, or another specified address, for 14 days on arrival in Scotland from 4am Saturday morning (5 September).
This is due to a significant rise in cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in these places, and in Portugal’s case the level of test positivity, which means that the risk of importation into Scotland by people who have visited is too high to ignore.
The Scottish Government has carefully examined the scope of applying measures, such as regional targeting, but consider a whole country approach for Portugal is required. While regional variations in the pattern of cases and level of risk can often be identified in different countries, the Scottish Government is not confident there is strong evidence of clear controls in place limiting travel between different areas. A regional approach will be explored for future application but in the interests of safeguarding public health a whole country approach will be applied at this time.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“We are in the midst of a global pandemic and the situation in many countries can change suddenly. Therefore, people should think very hard before committing to non-essential travel abroad.
“With Scotland’s relatively low infection rate, importation of new cases is a significant risk to public health. I would also encourage people who have returned to Scotland from Portugal or French Polynesia in the last few days to be particularly careful in their social contacts and to ensure they stick to the FACTS. I am also concerned by the level of infections in Gibraltar and we will be monitoring the situation there very carefully.
“Regular discussions continue with the other three governments in the UK. We continue to closely monitor the situation in all parts of the world and base the decisions we make on the scientific evidence available.
“It is a legal requirement to complete a Passenger Locator Form and provide it to Border Force, whether you have travelled from an exempt or non-exempt country. The requirement for travellers to quarantine for 14 days on arrival from a non-exempt country is vital to help prevent transmission of the virus and to suppress it – not doing so poses a significant risk to wider public health across Scotland.”
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 5 September.
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. 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 £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.