THE UK Government has been accused of undermining Scotland's tougher international quarantine rules by failing to help close a loophole.

SNP Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the UK Government's approach will not work and it is "critical" they act on clinical advice. 

From today, international travellers arriving in Scotland from any country will be forced to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days on arrival.

But in England, only those arriving from 33 so-called "red list" countries will need to quarantine in hotels.

This raises the prospect of travellers landing in England and then crossing the border into Scotland, potentially dodging the £1,750 hotel quarantine fee.

Mr Matheson said border checks between Scotland and England would be "very challenging" due to the volume of traffic.

The Scottish Government wants those who arrive in England but intend to travel on to Scotland to be placed into quarantine hotels down south. 

However there has been no agreement with the UK Government on this, leaving the loophole open.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Matheson said: "It's a loophole that has been created by the UK Government and its failure to take action on the basis of the clinical and expert advice that has been provided on this matter."

He said Scottish ministers "are going to continue to press the UK Government". 

He added: "The danger is that if they don't act on this matter, they potentially undermine the public health approach here in Scotland. That's unacceptable."

Mr Matheson said the other option would be for UK ministers to provide the Scottish Government with the details of those who land in England but plan to travel up to Scotland.

They would then be asked to report to a quarantine hotel in Scotland. 

However Mr Matheson said the problem with this "is that these are individuals who are then going to be potentially travelling on public transport", risking the spread of the virus.

He said: "It's absolutely critical that the UK Government act on the clinical advice and that they put these arrangements in place to help to support our programme here in Scotland, if they're not prepared to do it for England."

Asked about border checks, Mr Matheson said: "The challenge you have with trying to achieve it through border checks between Scotland and England is just the thousands of vehicles that cross that particular route each day.

"It's something that's obviously an operational matter for the Chief Constable, but actually trying to operationalise it would be very challenging indeed.

"That's why the simplest and the safest approach to dealing with this is to have a comprehensive system in place. 

"And if the UK Government aren't prepared to do that, we could resolve the issue by simply ensuring those who are transferring on to Scotland have to go to a quarantine facility near to the airport they arrive at in England."

He said experts have said the UK Government's system will not work.

He added: "The UK Government are undermining the potential benefits that we can get from the approach we're taking in Scotland by a failure to act on that expert advice."