Scotland 'obliged to delay' air passenger Covid tests because they were put back by UK Government

Plans to require international air passengers to take a Covid test before arriving in Scotland have had to be delayed from Friday to Monday because they were postponed by the UK Government, Scottish ministers said today.

Covid tests for arriving international passengers to the UK were originally due to have been required from Friday. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

The move follows UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announcing last night that the need for passengers to provide proof of a negative Covid test before travelling would be put back until 4am on Monday “to give international arrivals time to prepare passengers”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today at her daily coronavirus briefing that Scotland would follow suit.

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However, a Scottish Government spokesperson added: “The UK announced overnight that they would be delaying the implementation of pre-departure testing until Monday morning, saying this would allow international arrivals and international passengers time to prepare.

"This meant Scotland was also obliged to delay implementation as we need sight of their final regulations in order to properly draft and approve the relevant Scottish regulations.”

The delay comes despite the tests being announced by the Scottish and UK governments six days ago.

Travellers will have to take a Covid test within three days of travelling.

Airlines are required to refuse boarding to passengers with a positive test result or an invalid certificate

Children aged ten and under are exempt.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said staff from the UK’s Border Force would make spot checks of passengers arriving in Scotland to ensure compliance.

Anyone without a valid test result faces a £480 fine.

Passengers will still need to quarantine for ten days on arrival in Scotland unless they have travelled only in countries on the exempt list.

However, under the current lockdown it is illegal to travel to Scotland without a reasonable excuse.

Mr Matheson said: “People should not be travelling unless it is genuinely essential they do so.

“There is no doubt this measure, being implemented by administrations across the UK, provides an additional level of protection to guard against importation of the virus and is absolutely essential to avoid further upsurges in infections.

“The requirement for pre-departure testing will add to our suite of public health measures as we seek to help drive down transmission of the virus.”

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