Further changes to public health travel rules.
Travellers arriving in Scotland from Estonia and Latvia must quarantine for 14 days at home or another address, from 4am on Saturday (28 November).
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 exemption status.
At the same time a number of destinations are being added to the list of countries and territories where travellers will be exempt from quarantine on arrival in Scotland.
They are: Aruba, Bhutan, Israel, Jerusalem, Kiribati, Micronesia, Mongolia, Namibia, Northern Mariana Islands, Rwanda, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Uruguay, Vanuatu and the Caribbean islands of the US Virgin Islands, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.
The enhanced travel controls which prevented visitors arriving into the UK from Denmark will also be removed this Saturday. However, anyone arriving into the UK from Denmark will still be required to isolate for 14 days.
The regulations will also make minor amendments to sectoral exemptions related to state business, diplomatic missions and sub-sea telecommunications workers.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“We continue to closely monitor the status of the pandemic in countries across the world, given circumstances can change so rapidly and that all of us must take great care to avoid contributing to the spread of the virus.
“The removal of the travel ban on visitors from Denmark as well as the addition of a number of destinations to the list of countries designated exempt from quarantine requirements, should not be taken as a green light for lots of people to arrange overseas travel.
“Our message remains clear that people should think very hard before committing to non-essential foreign travel as the public health situation, and therefore our response to it, can change rapidly.
“It is imperative that we disrupt the spread of this virus which remains a significant challenge in Scotland and across the world.”
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. Decisions about quarantine requirements for arrivals from overseas destinations, as well as any exemptions, are informed by risk assessments provided by the Joint Biosecurity centre (JBC), which has published an information note explaining its methodology.
Enhanced border health measures were introduced around Denmark as a precautionary move to prevent the spread of a variant strain of the coronavirus associated with outbreaks in mink farms in Denmark.
The quarantine exemption applies for Israel in its entirety, and Jerusalem in its entirety. For the Occupied Palestinian Territories, only East Jerusalem is included in the exemption. The remainder of the Occupied Palestinian Territories are not included.
The changes to the exempt destinations list and sectoral exemptions will come into force at 4 am on Saturday 28 November.
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.
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, as well as details of sectoral exemptions.
Those travelling abroad should check in advance for any local requirements to quarantine on arrival at their destination.