Hotel quarantine for all arrivals in Scotland at £1,750 each
The move goes further than the quarantine rules for England announced by health secretary Matt Hancock yesterday. The Scottish government says the regulations in England are insufficient.
Arrivals in England from 33 ‘red list’ countries will need to pay for hotel quarantine. Arrivals from other countries are required to quarantine at home for 10 days and undergo mandatory testing.
But all arrivals in Scotland from outside the Common Travel Area must book and pay for managed isolation in quarantine hotels from 15 February.
Six hotels close to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports with a combined capacity of 1,300 rooms will be used to implement the quarantine at a cost of £1,750 per individual traveller.
Final costs for those not travelling alone are currently being worked through, as well as the details for a Managed Isolation Welfare Fund which will be launched for those who cannot afford the charge.
All arrivals must quarantine for at least 10 days and will be tested twice for the virus – once on day two and once on day eight after arrival.
Existing travel exemptions will be strengthened, including limiting overseas training for elite sportspeople to athletes and coaches preparing for the Olympics and Paralympics.
A small number of arrivals will not be required to isolate, such as those involved in essential supply chains for goods coming into Scotland.
The Scottish government is yet to announce penalties for not sticking to the hotel quarantine rules.
In England, travellers can be fined up to £10,000 for failing to stay in a quarantine hotel, and be jailed for up to 10 years for lying about where they have been in order to evade quarantine.
It is still the case in Scotland and England that all non-essential international travel is not permitted.
Michael Matheson, Scotland’s transport secretary, said: “To manage the risk of importing new variants, and to give vaccine deployment the best chance of bringing us closer to normality here in Scotland, we have to place further limits on international travel.
“The UK government has only committed to adopting this for travellers returning from ‘red list’ countries. However, we know that is not sufficient and we will go further.
“The clinical advice is clear that a comprehensive system of managed quarantine is essential to minimise the impact of new COVID-19 variants.”