Scotland to bring in hotel quarantine for all travellers - could the wider UK follow suit?

Scotland to bring in hotel quarantine for all travellers - could the wider UK follow suit? (Photo by Andy Buchanan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Anyone arriving in Scotland will be required to quarantine in a hotel due to new rules put in place by the Scottish Government, in an attempt to stop new strains of Covid entering the country.

Travellers will be forced to quarantine no matter their country of departure, in contrast to the current UK-wide hotel quarantine policy, which only applies to those travelling from countries with a travel ban in effect.

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Speaking in the Scottish Parliament yesterday (2 Feb), First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the UK-wide travel quarantine policy “does not go far enough” and that it “must be much more comprehensive”.

The full guidelines on Scotland’s new traveller quarantine policy are due to be released shortly.

The First Minister also reiterated that the country’s current lockdown “needs to remain in place until at least the end of February.”

What did the First Minister say?

“As we continue to suppress the virus within our own borders and increase the protection of the vaccine, it is essential that we also guard against fresh importation of cases from overseas,” Sturgeon said.

“This is particularly important as the virus mutates and new, more infectious and potentially more severe variants emerge.

“It is to that end that the four UK nations have already agreed that travellers coming into the UK from countries with a travel ban in place will be required to quarantine in hotels.

“This is a necessary measure - but in the Scottish Government’s view, it does not go far enough.

“Firstly, there should be very few people coming from countries with a ban in place anyway.

“Second, this approach leaves open the possibility that people will travel into the UK from those countries via third countries.

“And thirdly, an approach to managed quarantine that only includes countries where new variants have already been identified is too reactive - because often by the time a new variant has been identified through genomic sequencing, it will already have spread acrossborders.

“So the firm view of the Scottish Government is that in order to minimise the risk of new strains coming into the country, managed quarantine must be much more comprehensive.

“I can therefore confirm today that we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.

“Obviously, we cannot unilaterally implement immediate managed quarantine for people who arrive in other parts of the UK before travelling on to Scotland.

“So we will continue to urge the UK Government to adopt a comprehensive approach.

“And if they do not wish to do so - as is their prerogative - we will ask them to work with us to reduce the risk amongst people travelling to Scotland via ports elsewhere in the UK.

“We will set out more detail of how and when the managed quarantine system will be operationalised as soon as possible.”