MINISTERS have said they are still working on a plan for strengthened quarantine rules after coming under fire from airports who were taken by surprise by the new proposals.

The First Minister confirmed on Tuesday that a managed quarantine system for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland - regardless of which country they have come from - will be introduced as soon as practicably possible.

They are due to further than the other nations of the UK But Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports - which operates Glasgow and Aberdeen airports - said it lacked "any detail" on how the latest layer of restrictions will be implemented.

And a spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: "We still don't know how this is expected to work."

READ MORE: Revealed: Foreign travel Covid risk concerns raised by Scots experts last summer

But the Scottish Government has said that they will consult with airports once plans are finalised.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Work on the details is ongoing and we will talk to the aviation sector before plans are confirmed.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney added that they were "very committed to ongoing dialogue with all sectors affected".

The Herald:

He said: "We have to use every device available to us to interrupt the circulation of the virus, and the approaches that we're taking on quarantine arrangements are designed to do exactly that.

"There is work going on to develop the thinking that the government wants to put in place and we will obviously talk to the aviation sector as part of that process."

Under UK plans, people arriving from high-risk countries on a "red list" will have to quarantine in hotels.

Nicola Sturgeon said that would be extended to all travellers "regardless of which country they have come from".

Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports - which operates Glasgow and Aberdeen airports - said the industry has to be consulted if it is to implement any new measures.

He said it was the third significant announcement regarding travel restrictions in as many weeks which, "once again, have been introduced without any consultation whatsoever".

He said there was a lack of clarity over how people will be able to travel from the aircraft to the hotel.

And he said they don't understand what monitoring and measuring will take place between the Scottish and English borders.

He said: "We’re also lacking any detail on how the latest layer of restrictions will be implemented.

“We understand the need for short-term emergency measures, and we all want to see this virus brought under control as quickly as possible, however, it’s imperative government engages with industry on developing a recovery plan.

“Our airports are effectively closed, they have been for almost one year and without a recovery plan from government there is no end in sight - we need to see sector specific support beyond the rates relief otherwise our entire industry will remain in a perilous position.”

Ms Sturgeon said on Tuesday the stricter rules were to "guard against" the importation of new variants."

The Herald:

She said the approach agreed across the UK only included countries where new variants had already been identified.

Ms Sturgeon said this was "too reactive" because a new variant will often have spread across borders by the time it has been identified through genomic sequencing.

And while Scotland cannot unilaterally implement managed quarantine for people arriving in other parts of the UK before travelling to Scotland, it is to urge the UK government to adopt a stricter approach.

“As levels of the virus continue to fall in Scotland, it becomes ever more important that we stop the virus from being imported again.

“That is why we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.

“We want to work with the UK Government to avoid travellers sidestepping restrictions and arriving in other parts of the UK before travelling to Scotland, however the most effective approach to prevent this and to stop new variants being imported is for the UK Government to introduce a compulsory quarantine for anyone travelling into the UK from overseas.

“Since we still have work to do these measures will not be introduced this week and more detail will follow shortly."

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said they still don't know how this it was expected to work, when it is being enacted and "what it means for airports and our industry, so yet again we ask the Scottish government to talk to us".

"Business-changing policy with no detail is damaging because we can't plan our response or our recovery, which will feed into Scotland's recovery - we understand restrictions are required, but we're now coming up for a year of little to no passengers without direct industry support," he said.

Scots experts warned six months ago that international travel was a main driver of Covid-19 infections but the UK’s rigorous test-before-travel scheme was not introduced until January 18, allowing the virus to circulate freely in Scotland, it has emerged.

New rules requiring arrivals to take a negative coronavirus test up to 72 hours before departure and self-isolate for up to 10 days after entering the UK came into effect at 4am on that day as travel corridors offering exemptions were scrapped.

That move was part of the Government’s attempts to prevent new strains of Covid-19 entering the UK.

The previous week, the UK Government introduced for the first time measures aimed at ensuring that people coming into the country now required a negative Covid-19 test.

Before that, according to figures shared with the Herald more than 14,000 passengers a week were estimated to have been arriving in Scotland through the nation's airports from home and abroad without that clearance - 6000 more than in mid-April, in the early stages of the first lockdown.

The Herald revealed that in June a study from over 40 Scottish health experts from seven universities examining the four weeks after the first case reported was reported in Scotland on March 1 concluded an earlier lockdown from countries with a high burden of cases such as Italy and other measures such as quarantine of travellers from high-risk areas "might have prevented escalation of the outbreak and multiple clusters of ongoing community transmission".

And in early December, a month before the introduction of tougher travel restrictions, a Scottish expert report from many of the same institutions submitted to the Government advisers, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) painted a similar picture this time with the second wave.