Covid: Scotland’s international travel testing regime to be relaxed Published
14 hours ago
Related Topics Coronavirus pandemic image source, PA Media Fully-vaccinated people travelling to Scotland from overseas will no longer have to take pre-departure Covid tests, the Scottish government has confirmed.
The change will benefit Scots returning home from abroad and visitors from non-red list countries.
Scotland will also “align with the UK post-arrival testing regime” but details have still to be finalised.
Last week the Scottish government said testing requirements would remain due to public health concerns
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said ministers still had concerns, but after talks with the aviation industry they had “reluctantly concluded” that following the UK’s path on testing was the “best option”.
The eight countries now off the red list Testing rules ‘could destroy’ tourism season Plans to simplify the international travel traffic light system by merging green and amber classifications and removing more countries from the red list were announced last Friday.
Those changes will come into effect on 4 October.
Now it has also been confirmed that travellers from non-red list countries who have been fully vaccinated will not be required to provide evidence of a negative test result before travelling to Scotland.
image source, Andia However, they must have been vaccinated in a country that meets “recognised standards of certifications”.
Mr Matheson said the move to align with the rest of the UK came after consideration of the “logistical, health and economic implications”.
He added: “We have urgently considered all these implications, weighing any possible impact on the public health and the logistical realities.
“After liaising at length with stakeholders from the aviation sector to understand the impact of adopting a different approach in Scotland, we have reluctantly concluded that, for practical reasons, alignment with the UK is the best option.”
Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “We welcome this decision which will be a huge bonus for Scotland’s travel and tourism sector and will provide some much needed confidence for people who need and want to travel.”
image caption The travel industry had warned that not aligning with the rest of the UK was costing the sector bookings Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, which owns Aberdeen and Glasgow airports, said: “While this is something we have been urging the Scottish government to do for months, and the subsequent delay has negatively impacted the industry in Scotland, it is a welcome step forward.
“By ensuring Scotland has parity with the rest of the UK, this decision is one that will deliver much-needed consumer confidence for our passengers to start travelling again.”
Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, added: “Divergence in international travel restrictions and testing regimes would have placed Scotland and its airports at a significant economic disadvantage.
“This sends a clear signal to the world that Scotland is open for business.”
Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com, claimed the firm had seen an immediate surge in bookings for flights and package holidays since the announcement.
He said: “We had already seen demand step up following the decision to scrap the traffic light system, however this announcement removes a number of major barriers.
“The fact that Scottish holidaymakers will no longer have to take a pre-departure test in resort is a welcome step towards normality.”
‘Late U-turn’ The Scottish government has also said it would consider how “additional safeguards and surveillance of inward travel can be implemented” in a bid to guard against the importation of new variants of Covid.
Tory transport spokesman Graham Simpson MSP said: “This SNP climbdown will come as a relief to businesses in Scotland’s much overlooked tourism and aviation industries.
“However, such a late U-turn means Scottish airports have missed out on any potential recovery that could have been made during the October break.”
Jillian Evans, head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian, told BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime programme said she was a “little perplexed” at the latest easing of travel restrictions when “we are still right in the middle of this pandemic”.
“I know some of the trends are going in the right direction and it feels as though we are turning a corner,” she added.”Whether that is a sustained position will depend on us continuing to be vigilant and having protective measures in place.
“This announcement today is another one being introduced which could have repercussions.I understand why; it is about being practical and signing up to the situation across the UK.But it doesn’t come without risk.
“Even though we will still have PCR testing for red-list countries, there is no guarantee you won’t detect variants of concerns in any other country.They are not just restricted to countries on the red list, so I think it’s a worry.”
RULES: What are the restrictions in your area? EASING: What are the current rules? CASES: Where are the latest cases in Scotland? WHO? The people who have died with Covid-19 Related Topics Coronavirus testing Coronavirus pandemic More on this story Covid testing rules ‘could destroy’ tourism season
Published 4 days ago Travel rules simplified but test regime to stay
Published 6 days ago Travel update: What are the latest rule changes?
Published 15 hours ago.