Coronavirus in Scotland: Travel curbs come into force as India added to acute risk list

Passengers arriving in Scotland on flights from India must now hotel quarantine as the country is officially added to the acute risk list of travel countries.

As of 4am on Friday (Apri 23), people returning from India must quarantine in a Government-approved hotel for 10 days, while anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or a British citizen will be banned from entering the country if they have been in India in the previous 10 days.

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The variant – also known as B.1.617 – was first noted internationally in October and first identified in the UK on February 22.

Passengers on flights into the UK from India must now enter hotel quarantine.
Passengers on flights into the UK from India must now enter hotel quarantine.

It has 13 mutations including two in the virus’ spike protein known as E494Q and L452R.

Scotland’s National Clinical Director, Jason Leitch, said he is more worried about the situation in India than the cases of variant which have made it to Scotland.

"The most important thing about India in the news is not the five cases in Scotland, though they are of course important, and we continue to monitor them.

“But the situation in India is horrifying, absolutely horrifying.”

Professor Leitch said the situation in India is a reminder that Scots should not “go crazy” when restrictions ease on Monday.

He added: “There were five and a half million cases in the last seven days, and the world has passed three million deaths,” he said.

"This pandemic is far from over, globally. We have done really well at the end of this second wave, but the virus is still the virus.”

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Scotland has strong, historic ties with India but we have taken this difficult decision after the Joint Biosecurity Centre increased its risk rating due to the high levels of in-country transmission and the threat posed from new variants.

“No one wants these restrictions in place any longer than necessary, but we have to take whatever steps are required to protect the public as we continue to emerge from lockdown in Scotland.

“International travel will continue to remain a significant risk, requiring a cautious approach, on a four-nation basis.”

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