Nicola Sturgeon will not rule out quarantining people from other parts of UK
Nicola Sturgeon has raised concerns that Boris Johnson may be allowing "higher levels" of Coronavirus to circulate in England, while Scotland moves towards elimination.
The First Minister warned today that she could not rule out the possibility of quarantine for visitors from south of the border in future, although there are no plans for this at the moment.
The SNP leader also said that Scotland was not yet ready to accept "air corridors" which would mean that people could travel to Scotland from other countries with low infection rates, after an absence of consultation on the measure from the UK Government.
It came as Scotland recorded its fourth day in a row without any Covid deaths. Local flare-ups in England has seen the city of Leicester placed in local lockdown to control an outbreak.
"I would really welcome a statement from the Prime Minister that England's strategy is about trying to eliminate the virus as well, as opposed to what appears to me to be perhaps letting it circulate at higher levels as long as it doesn't threaten to overwhelm the National Health Service," Ms Sturgeon said during her daily Coronavirus briefing.
Ms Sturgeon said there are "no plans" at the moment to introduce quarantine from people entering Scotland from the rest of the UK.
But as cases continue to fall in Scotland, she said the authorities must be alert to cases "coming into" the country and the measure could not be ruled out. A flare-up in cases may jeopardrise the full-time return of schools, she added.
"If we did see an ongoing divergence between infection rates in Scotland and other parts of the UK from a public health perspective we would require to give consideration around how we mitigate that and guard against infection rates rising in Scotland as a result,” Ms Sturgeon added.
She insisted that this was not a political or constitutional matter.
"From a public health perspective we have to be able to consider all options if it is required to try to stop a resurgence of infection in Scotland."
On the issue of border and immigration powers being reserved to the UK Government, Ms Sturgeon argued that rules over quarantine were linked to public health and therefore under Scottish Government control.
She expressed disappointment that the emergency Cobra taskforce had not met “for weeks” and that said she would welcome “genuine substantive discussions” involving the four nations in advance of certain decisions being taken.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “On the issue of quarantine we have taken a four-nation approach to these matters throughout. We have worked closely with the devolved administrations at all times and this continues.”
Asked whether Scotland’s First Minister could block the plan, the spokesman said: “We do continue to work with the Scottish Government on this. Our approach on the issue of quarantine has been a four-nation one and we will continue to work with the devolved administrations.”
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