NICOLA Sturgeon has been accused of “dragging her feet” and putting jobs at risk over plans to allow Scots to enjoy quarantine-free travel abroad. 

Airport bosses said the First Minister risks compounding the “already drastic” impact of the coronavirus crisis by delaying decisions.

They called for clarity “as soon as possible” to prevent further job losses and allow routes to be re-established.

It comes after UK ministers published a list of 73 countries and territories that English holidaymakers can visit from July 10 without isolating for 14 days on their return. 

This includes popular destinations such as Spain, France and Italy, as well as long-haul locations including Australia, Hong Kong and Japan.

However, the devolved nations have not signed up to the proposals, with Ms Sturgeon previously criticising the UK Government’s “shambolic” decision-making.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon warns Scotland won't be 'dragged' into decisions amid air bridges row

A 14-day isolation policy for UK arrivals from overseas was introduced on June 8. 
On Friday, Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government was “very likely” to agree to quarantine-free travel to countries that have been categorised as low risk. But officials are “looking more closely” at those designated medium-risk.

Speaking at her daily coronavirus briefing  in Edinburgh yesterday, the First Minister said a list of quarantine-free destinations for Scots should be published “within the next couple of days”. 

She also confirmed checks to ensure overseas travellers coming into Scotland are complying with quarantine restrictions will start from today. 

It comes 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 for a random sample of arrivals south of the Border to ensure they are sticking to the rules.

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 understanding was reached on Friday, the First Minister said, adding checks will start on Tuesday.

First Minister said in an “ideal world” such checks would have started sooner.
She stressed there is “no suggestion there has not been high compliance with the quarantine measures” for travellers arriving in Scotland.

Airport bosses yesterday called for urgent decisions over quarantine-free travel. 
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “Another day and yet more dithering from the Scottish Government. 

“Airports never like to hear about delays but when it is having a direct impact on people’s jobs and livelihoods then they are even more unwelcome.

“We need to know what the Government plans to do and we need to know now. 

“We said the quarantine policy would be ineffective and unworkable and we now know we were right after the Government’s own admission that no checks have taken place. 
“Jobs have been lost and thousands more are at risk due to this policy and there is absolutely nothing to show for it.

“We don’t envy the decisions that the First Minister has to make but decisions are needed and further delay will only compound the already drastic impact that’s been inflicted upon the aviation and tourism sectors.”

READ MORE: Air Bridges: What are they, do they apply in Scotland and can I go on holiday abroad?

Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports which owns and manages Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, said it had warned the “blanket quarantine policy” would be ineffective, unworkable and hugely damaging.

He said: “We need clarity as soon as possible on when we can move to the targeted, risk-based approach of air bridges which will allow us to safely re-establish routes and prevent further jobs being put at risk.”

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said Ms Sturgeon is “dragging her feet on this issue and that’s not good enough for hardworking Scots who deserve a break”.

Ms Sturgeon was asked when a decision on destinations will be made during her daily briefing. 

She said: “As soon as we can, and we would then seek to make any consequent amendments to our regulation by or on July 10, which is the same timescale the UK Government is working to.”

She said more up to date information about coronavirus levels is needed for some countries. 

She added: “I would hope to confirm our final view of that soon, within the next couple of days, so that we are on track to make any regulation changes by the end of the week.”