Covid Scotland: Scottish airports demand double vaccinated to be exempt from holiday quarantines

Chief executives of Scottish airports alongside airlines have urged Nicola Sturgeon to ease restrictions around quarantine for travellers arriving into Scotland from amber list countries.

Airport chiefs have joined together to call for Scotland to follow England on easing quarantine restrictions
Airport chiefs have joined together to call for Scotland to follow England on easing quarantine restrictions

In a letter sent to the First Minister, and signed by the chief executives of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports, aviation sector representatives call for urgent “clarification” around the rules and for alignment with England.

Rules in Scotland see travellers arriving from amber list countries such as the USA, Austria, and Germany forced to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival, take a test prior to travelling, and pay for tests on day two and day eight of the self-isolation period.

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For those arriving into England from July 19, the requirement to self-isolate will no longer apply for double vaccinated people and those under the age of 18, but they will still need to pay for tests before and after their return.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said that the UK Government was “working to extend our approach to vaccinated passengers from important markets and holiday destinations, later this summer, such as the United States and the EU.”

The letter, which is also signed by the chief executives of Jet 2, Tui, Loganair, and easyJet, says following England would reduce “ongoing damage” to the Scottish aviation sector.

It states: “Today, given the success of the UK’s vaccination programme and proven efficacy of vaccines against Covid-19 variants, including the Delta variant, easing restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers is supported by the science.

"It is also consistent with the unlocking occurring across the domestic economy, and internationally including across the EU through their own Digital COVID Certificate which, from 1st July, has enshrined the principle that fully vaccinated EU nationals should be exempted from travel restrictions.

“As you know, connectivity is vital for Scotland, with current restrictions causing further ongoing damage to Scottish aviation and Scottish businesses, jeopardising tens of thousands of jobs up and down the country that depend on Scotland’s air links.

"We urge you to support travellers and Scotland’s aviation sector by bringing a quarantine exemption into effect for fully vaccinated UK residents from 19th July.”

Responding, a Scottish Government spokesperson said the policy was continually under consideration but warned that decisions on “border health measures” would be taken in Scotland despite hopes for a four-nations approach.

The spokesperson said: “We are considering relaxing restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers arriving from amber list countries, but it needs to be fair and deliverable.

“Where possible we will look to adopt a four nation approach for the re-opening of international travel. However, decisions on border health measures are a devolved matter and will be taken by Ministers on the basis of evidence and with the safety of our communities as our primary concern.”

“If the clinical and scientific advice is that it is safe and appropriate to treat vaccinated travellers differently, we will consider changes to the restrictions and we will make an announcement on that shortly.”

Nicola Sturgeon will announce whether Scotland will drop to level zero in a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

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