Nicola Sturgeon pushes for border checks after 'deeply disappointing' talks with Westminster to enforce Scotland's tough quarantine me
Nicola Sturgeon pushes for border checks after ‘deeply disappointing’ talks with Westminster to enforce Scotland’s tough quarantine measures broke down
- All passengers flying into Scotland forced to quarantine in a hotel for ten days
- In England people only have to do this if they arrive from ‘red list’ of 33 countries
- Fears travellers from lower risk countries will fly to England first before Scotland
Travellers crossing from England into Scotland face being questioned at the border over fears of a quarantine ‘loophole’.
From Monday all passengers flying from abroad into Scotland will be forced to quarantine in a hotel for ten days.
But in England people will only have to do this if they arrive from a ‘red list’ of 33 countries.
There is therefore concern travellers from lower risk countries heading for Scotland will try to fly to England first – to avoid the strict hotel isolation rules – before continuing north over the border.
There are concerns that travellers from lower risk countries heading for Scotland will try to fly to England first
Jeane Freeman, the Scottish health secretary, said UK ministers’ refusal to help track arrivals who then go on to Scotland was ‘deeply disappointing’.
She is going ahead with plans for checks at the border in Scotland after no agreement was reached in talks on Thursday night.
Matt Hancock, the UK health secretary, said travellers arriving into English airports from ‘low risk’ countries and then on to Scotland should self-isolate at home.
And First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that police in Scotland could be asked to ‘do more than they’re doing right now’ to make sure people are not exploiting rules to avoid quarantine hotels.
Speaking at a coronavirus briefing yesterday, Ms Freeman said: ‘It’s deeply disappointing that as part of a family of equals, one partner isn’t prepared to help the other partner enforce the policy that they think is the right policy for the people they represent.
‘The discussions will continue, because we are, as we have always been, keen where we can to reach a four-nation approach to deal with a virus that doesn’t respect boundaries and borders.
‘But in the meantime, we will work through what the options are to mitigate where the UK government stance creates a loophole.
‘We can’t have people coming in, getting on public transport, coming to Scotland and we don’t know about that and they are not required to quarantine in way that we can’t manage so we have to consider what our options are about that land border.’
This week Nicola Sturgeon was accused of trying to extend Scottish laws south of the border after she demanded that the English authorities quarantine all travellers flying into England if they were planning to go to Scotland.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that police in Scotland could be asked to ‘do more than they’re doing right now’
The plans laid out by Health Secretary Matt Hancock state that people jetting into the UK from 33 ‘red list’ countries will be taken from arrivals directly to one of 16 hotels.
All guests will have to pay an individual fee of £1,750 for ten nights where they will have to eat airline-style food left at their door, change their own sheets and towels and be accompanied by security if they want fresh air or a cigarette outside.
Meanwhile Scotland is forcing all of its international arrivals into its airports to undergo the stay at the same cost.
Addressing the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood yesterday, Mr Matheson said: ‘Passengers entering England from the red-list countries who then seek to travel onto Scotland will have to isolate in a hotel in England. Last week, that was 130 people.
‘We continue to press the UK Government to adopt what we believe is a more comprehensive approach, and require all arrivals to go into a quarantine hotel.
‘We ask the UK Government to work with us to identify international travellers not caught by this approach so that arrangements can be made for them to isolate in a quarantine hotel, in line with the policy in Scotland.’