'Comprehensive system of managed quarantine' promised by Nicola Sturgeon

New quarantine procedures for international travellers arriving in Scotland will be outlined in Holyrood on Tuesday, the First Minister said, as she pledged to reduce the risk of importing the new variants of Covid.

However, at her daily coronavirus briefing, Nicola Sturgeon also said vaccine passports were both “premature” and potentially “discriminatory”.

Strict new quarantine restrictions are due to come into place from February 15, but operators of the country's biggest airports have said they don’t know how the plans will work, and there are concerns about divergent plans across the four nations of the UK.

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Growing fears over Scots quarantine regime a week before launch
Nicola Sturgeon said quarantine measures could affect aviation for some time to come.

Asked is she could confirm there would be a blanket system across the UK, Ms Sturgeon said transport secretary Michael Matheson would set out new provisions in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow

She said: “We intend to have a comprehensive system of managed quarantine. We think that’s essential to minimise the risk of importing the new variant.”

On vaccine passports, Ms Sturgeon appeared to agree with UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi, who said they would not be introduced.

She said: “I'm not sure it would right to rule them out forever, but certainly it’s premature to be thinking about them as a concept right now given uncertainties we have around the vaccine and transmission. There are ethical questions as well, what they signify, whether it would be discriminatory to some groups, so I think there are questions that have to be thought through before we get to a position.

“I don’t think it’s something likely to become feasible or desirable in the immediate future.”

Ms Sturgeon admitted the restrictions would impact Scotland’s airports and aviation sectors for some time to come.

She said: “We want to work with the UK Government to ensure there’s support in place, but if we can get to a point of suppression, elimination, keeping virus levels low on the one hand and vaccinating more people on the other, if we can then open up some greater domestic normality in our own borders, that will be good for the economy and domestic tourism, but the price we may have to pay for that for a period is not having travel into the country from elsewhere.”

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