NICOLA Sturgeon has stressed Scotland “cannot simply be dragged along in decisions we have no knowledge of” as she bemoaned Boris Johnson’s unclear strategy for fighting the Covid-19 outbreak.

The First Minister criticised the UK Government for announcing its decision to formally adopt air bridges to certain other countries without consultation with devolved administrations as was promised - and warned the Scottish Government is yet to decide whether to adopt such a policy.

Ms Sturgeon stressed, however, that she currently has “no plans to introduce quarantine for people coming to Scotland from other parts of the UK”, following speculation the measure could be considered - but has not formally rules it out.

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The UK Government has announced that air bridges will be set up to allow people to go on holiday to certain countries without having to quarantine for 14 days when they return.

But the Scottish Government is yet to confirm whether these rules will be shared north of the border.

The First Minister said: “The UK Government made its announcement on what are called air bridges, which allow travel to and from certain countries without quarantine restrictions, unfortunately without any prior consultation at all with the Scottish Government. As a result, we are still considering our response and our own proposals.

“This is an issue on which we have tried very hard to work closely with the UK Government and other devolved administrations. We can and do, of course, see the benefits of adopting a consistent approach across all parts of the UK.

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“The prospect of cases coming in from elsewhere poses a risk not just to health but also to our economy. We therefore want to take a bit of time to consider the public health impact of the UK Government's proposals as well as the data and evidence underpinning them, which hopefully we will see before too long. We will make a further announcement once we have had the opportunity to do so.”

She added: “Right now we have no plans to introduce quarantine for people coming to Scotland from other parts of the UK, but there is a general issue that we have to consider as we go further through this pandemic.

“As our infection rates continue to fall, and they are falling now and I very much hope they continue to fall, we have to be on our guard against cases coming into Scotland from elsewhere – that's why we are taking time to consider the UK Government proposals around air bridges.

“If we did see an ongoing divergence between infection rates and levels in Scotland and other parts of the UK, from a public health perspective, we would require to give consideration about how we mitigate that and guard against infection rates rising in Scotland as a result.”

The Scottish Conservatives have called on the First Minsiter to formally rule out any future proposals for visitors from England potentially having to quarantine for 14 days.

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said: “The First Minister needs to rule out any attempt to close off Scotland from the rest of the UK.

“While it may be that localised lockdowns will be needed to deal with individual flare-ups over the months ahead, they should be handled as such.

“This should not be used as an issue to drive a wedge between Scotland and England.”

Ms Sturgeon criticised the lack of clarity from the Prime Minister over whether he was attempting to eradicate the virus as part of his strategy.

She said: “The closer we get to elimination, the more normality we get back, that is why it is so important to have elimination as a clear strategy – I’m very clear that is our objective in Scotland, but I’m less clear whether that is the objective elsewhere in the UK.

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“Elimination is not eradication. Elimination gets you to a very low level of cases, but the number of cases won’t stay at that low level on its own accord – the virus won’t simply disappear because it hasn’t been eradicated.”

She added: "I would really welcome a statement from the Prime Minister that England's strategy was about trying to eliminate the virus as well, as opposed to what appears to me to be perhaps letting it circulate at higher levels, as long as it doesn't threaten to overwhelm the National Health Service.

"We have to keep these things under review if we want to keep our levels of infection as low as we can get them."

The First Minister also called for more “genuine, substantive discussions” ahead of key decisions, such as the air bridge plans, being taken.

She added: “We were told that the UK Government wouldn’t take the decision that has announced last Friday without that four-nations discussion and then they announced it with no discussion with the other three nations at all.

“We cannot simply be dragged along in decisions that we have no knowledge of, that we don’t understand the basis of and might be wrong for our circumstances – I would be failing in my duty as First Minister if I allowed that to happen.

“There hasn’t been a COBR meeting for weeks - I think that’s regrettable. I think we should have more opportunities to discuss things on a four-nations basis. That said, for the interests of accuracy and transparency, there have been four-nations discussions."