All passengers arriving in Scotland from abroad must now self-isolate for ten days after quarantine ‘travel corridors’ were scrapped.

New rules came into force at 4am on Monday as Ministers scramble to stop the spread of Covid-19 after mutant strains of the virus began to appear around the globe.

Anyone arriving on Scottish soil by train, boat or plane must also present a negative coronavirus test taken no more than 72 hours before they arrive.

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However, it remains the case that travel to or from Scotland without a reasonable excuse is not permitted. 

HeraldScotland: An electronic sign advises travellers to wear face masks and practice social distancing while passing through the main terminal of Denver International Airport

Most people from outside the UK who meet the limited criteria to travel to Scotland will still require to undertake pre-departure tests and must have a valid negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than three days before the scheduled time of departure. 

This will be checked by operators, and passengers with a positive test result or an invalid certificate will be refused boarding.

Limited exemptions for essential purposes will be maintained, but the list of exemptions to the restrictions will be tightened.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “International travel has played a key role in previous waves of coronavirus and is a significant risk to our efforts to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level. The emergence of these new variants mean we must think carefully about restrictions on travel.

“It is crucial we take the right steps to prevent importing new strains that can increase transmission or undermine the vaccine in Scotland. 

"Travel into or out of Scotland is currently illegal and that will remain the case while we work to suppress the new strain of COVID-19. It remains the case that any travel must be for an essential reason."

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He added: "Everyone must stay at home as much as possible to minimise the risk of catching or spreading the virus.”

Karen Dee, chief executive of trade body the Airport Operators Association, supported the decision but stressed the need for “a clear pathway out”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’ve had the worst year in the entire history of our industry so the sooner we can get flying again safer, the better.”


EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said the loss of travel corridors will not have a “significant impact” on his airline in the short term as flight numbers were already limited due to the pandemic.

He told Today that the minimum number of days arrivals must wait to take a negative test releasing them from quarantine could be reduced from five days to three days.

“We know that there’s a big difference between people’s willingness to sacrifice to go and travel if you have to quarantine for 10 days or 14 days, down to five days or even three days,” he said.

“So it’s really, really important that, as part of the plan for recovery, the Government also has the plan to unwind these restrictions that are in place.”