Covid Scotland: Calls for Scottish Government to allow double vaccinated travellers to avoid quarantine following UK announcement
Pressure is mounting on the Scottish Government to allow double vaccinated travellers from amber destinations to avoid quarantine.
The call comes after Grant Shapps confirmed that fully vaccinated UK residents will not have to isolate when returning to England from 19 July.
Mr Shapps told MPs it was “important” to remember this would not be the case in the devolved administrations, but the news has prompted travel groups to urge the Scottish Government to follow suit.
A spokesperson at The Travel Association (ABTA), a leading association of travel agents and tour operators, said: “It is vitally important that the Scottish Government adopts a similar approach to support hard pressed travel agents and tour operators, and we also need Ministers to consider again the need for further financial support for the travel industry.
"Already a large portion of the critical summer season has been lost, and it must be remembered that previous grants for the industry were issued as far back as January. Trading conditions were already very tough then and now we’re six months on, still without any significant improvement in business.”
Joanne Dooey, president of The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association demanded Scotland follow the same proposals “swiftly”.
She said: “We continue to raise the question of travel certification and how Scotland will deliver a scheme to allow the public to provide proof of vaccination status in order to fly to other countries.
"Currently English travellers can use the NHS app to prove their certification status and this integrates with the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) which gives digital proof of a traveller’s vaccination, testing and recovered from COVID-19 status.
“The Scottish Government needs, as a matter of urgency, to tell us what stage, if any, the development of a Scottish app is at. Currently, Scots who wish to travel, have to apply for a paper certificate and we need to be operating at the same level as the other countries which have developed and are already using this technology.
“There is little, if any, customer confidence in travel at the moment and whole sector needs the Scottish Government to get behind a restart to international travel and boost the Scottish economy.”
Speaking during a coronavirus briefing on Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon said Boris Johnson’s promise to tear up most of England’s coronavirus regulations at Step 4 of its road map on July 19 “is something of an exception.”
She warned “we cannot simply throw all caution to the wind and no longer worry at all about rising levels of infection”, citing concerns about pressures on the NHS which have already led to some services being cut back.
She said: “While I totally understood the desire some have for us to follow suit in every single step, we have to think carefully about the steps we do take at this juncture.
“My job is not to take the easy decisions in a quest for popularity, it is to do what I think is most likely to keep the country as safe as possible as we get to the end of the vaccination programme.
“Over the next few weeks, as we complete the vaccination programme, it is really important that we don’t let the virus outrun us.”