News

Pre-departure coronavirus testing

Published: 08 Jan 2021 00:01

New public health requirements.

Passengers travelling to Scotland from abroad will be required to have proof of a negative test taken a maximum of 72 hours before travel.

The new public health requirement, to be introduced as soon as practically possible, aims to strengthen current safeguards against imported cases and in particular protect against new strains of coronavirus such as those identified in Denmark and South Africa.

People arriving into Scotland will have to take the pre-departure test (PDT) up to 72 hours before leaving the country they are in. Those coming from countries not on the quarantine exemption list will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival.

Non-essential travel to or from Scotland is currently illegal and will not immediately change with the introduction of pre-departure testing.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said:

“Travel into or out of Scotland is currently illegal and that will remain the case while we work to suppress the new strain of COVID-19.

“The Scottish Government has been consistently clear about the risks associated with international travel and the importance of public health measures in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus. That is why we have been in regular dialogue with the UK Government and the other devolved administrations about what further measures can be put in place, including the introduction of pre-departure testing (PDT).

“The requirement for pre-departure testing will add to our suite of public health measures as we seek to help drive down transmission of the virus to safeguard health, protect the NHS and save lives. 

“It is important to emphasise that this additional measure does not remove the requirement for all passengers arriving from countries not on the quarantine exemption list to self-isolate for ten days, even with a negative test.  Likewise, all passengers will continue to have to complete a Passenger Locator Form and, of course, they will be subject to national lockdown restrictions, which currently bar people from leaving their home or other fixed address without a reasonable excuse for doing so.

“As the UK Government has made clear, there are still some outstanding issues to address and it is important that we consider the implications, but we are keen to implement this as soon as it is possible.”

Background

Further details of the PDT scheme, including sanctions for individuals who fail to comply and when it will take effect, will be announced before the scheme is implemented.

The Scottish Government will introduce regulations and UK Border Force will carry out spot checks on travellers to monitor compliance.