Checks to ensure travellers coming into Scotland from overseas are complying with coronavirus quarantine restrictions will start from Tuesday, the First Minister has confirmed.

Nicola Sturgeon’s comments after it emerged that to date no checks have taken place to ensure people arriving in the country have been self-isolating for 14 days.

Staff from Public Health England have been calling a random sample of arrivals south of the border to ensure they are sticking to the rules.

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Ms Sturgeon explained an agreement had to be reached with the Home Office on allowing officials in Scotland access to data before such checks could be made.

A memorandum of agreement was reached on Friday, the First Minister said, adding checks will start on Tuesday.

Officials from Public Health Scotland will then be able to get in touch to “randomly check people are complying” with the requirement to self-isolate, she said.

Speaking at her daily briefing in Edinburgh, the First Minister said in an “ideal world” such checks would have started sooner.

But she explained: “We took a decision to manage this aspect of the system within our own public health arrangements, therefore there required to be work be done to conclude a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would allow the data to flow from the Home Office to Public Health Scotland.”

“That work has been under way under the past few weeks, there was an initial memorandum of understanding, which required some amendment as I understand it, because there were issues around the quality of the data.

“The MOU was received by Public Health Scotland on Friday of last week, which will now allow the checks to start tomorrow and I think that is positive.”

Ms Sturgeon stressed there is “no suggestion there has not been high compliance with the quarantine measures” for travellers arriving in Scotland.

“Passengers coming into Scotland are made fully aware of the quarantine arrangements,” the First Minister said.

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“What we are now able to do, given these data issues have been resolved, is begin the checks and begin them tomorrow, and Public Health Scotland will take that forward.”

She added: “While it has taken a little bit of time to do that it now means we have this system fully embedded within our public health infrastructure here in Scotland so we are not reliant on Public Health England carrying out these checks for us.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “The passenger data – the data you would give as you were flying into Scotland, about where you were going to go and your contact details – is held by the Home Office, it is not held by the Scottish Government.

“So in order to conduct quarantine checks you need to get that passenger data, the contact data, from the Home Office.

“Quarantine check will begin from tomorrow and those checks will not simply be on those individuals arriving from tomorrow but will also be on individuals who have arrived in the past 14 days.”