Scottish Government expected to scrap Covid tests for travellers after UK Government's announcement for England

Scottish ministers are expected to announce on Thursday they will follow the UK Government’s lead in removing Covid travel restrictions.

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 7:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th January 2022, 12:44 pm

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today that from 4am on Friday, pre-departure tests for travellers returning to England would be scrapped, along with the need to self-isolate on arrival until receiving a negative PCR test.

The Scotsman has been told the Scottish Government “is not anticipated to diverge from the UK position”, which will be confirmed on Thursday.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said an announcement would be made “shortly”.

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Edinburgh Airport has said conditions for recovery have been "in a fragile state for months". Picture: Lisa Ferguson

He told BBC Radio Scotland: "We are considering the announcements that have been made by the Prime Minister this afternoon and will update Parliament as quickly as we have come to conclusions.

"Obviously, there are some material issues about the fact that if people can fly into English airports they are obviously free to travel into Scotland, so there is a question of the alignment of the rules that exist between Scotland and England on these particular occasions.

"But ministers will consider the points that have been announced by the Prime Minister today and make our announcement shortly."

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Covid: Pre-departure travel tests to be scrapped from England

Earlier, in a Covid update to MSPs, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “In light of the widespread community transmission of Omicron in the UK now, discussions have been taking place today between the four UK governments about possible changes to travel rules, including the requirement for pre-departure testing.

“If these discussions result in proposed changes, we will inform Parliament as quickly as possible.”

AGS Airports, which operates Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, stressed the importance of a four-nations approach and said there was an “urgent” need for Scotland to agree to follow the UK Government’s changes.

Its spokesperson said: “Travel restrictions introduced last month were a hammer blow to both our recovery and passenger confidence, which until that point had slowly been returning.

“In light of the Prime Minister’s decision to scrap pre-departure testing, we urgently need the Scottish Government do the same and adopt a four-nations approach to prevent Scotland’s connectivity from falling further behind.

“These restrictions significantly impact our industry and the thousands of people it employs.

"We need governments to start planning now for the meaningful recovery of international travel and the vital connectivity it delivers for the country.”

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