Covid: Scotland to align with UK testing for international arrivals from Sunday

Scotland will align with the UK Government position on Covid testing for international arrivals from Sunday, a week after the change was made in England, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 4:16 pm

From 4am on October 31, double vaccinated travellers from non red list countries will be able to take a cheaper lateral flow test on day two of their arrival, rather than a PCR test as previously mandated.

It comes after airport chiefs accused the Scottish Government of leaving the travel industry “guessing” by not making a decision on the issue.

The rules around testing changed in England on October 24.

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Members of the public are seen at Edinburgh airport. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

When the UK Government initially announced this coming change on September 18, the Scottish Government said it would not follow suit, as PCR tests are more reliable.

This position was reversed after a week, as Scotland’s transport secretary Michael Matheson said Scotland “intended to align with the UK post-arrival testing regime”.

But when UK officials later announced this change would come into effect on October 24, the Scottish Government said this was yet to be confirmed north of the border.

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The date for the rule change in Scotland was announced by Ms Sturgeon on Tuesday.

"For practical reasons, the Scottish Government has decided to align with this change,” she told MSPs.

"From 4am on Sunday 31 October, therefore, people travelling to Scotland can also provide a lateral flow test – rather than a PCR test – on day two of their arrival.

"Travellers will be able to book lateral flow tests from the list of private providers on the gov.uk site from around 5pm on Friday, in advance of their arrival into Scotland.

"These tests will cost between £20-£30 per test, which is less than a PCR test. And so I am sure that this change will be welcomed by many travellers and by the travel industry.

"It is important to stress, however, that if your lateral flow test is positive, you must get a PCR test to confirm the result.”

Airport figures previously called on the Scottish Government to make a decision.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport said the travel industry had been “left guessing” and customers “may simply assume the worst”.

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