Scotland signs up to traffic light system to allow quarantine-free foreign travel

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urges people to travel abroad only when essential

Scotland is implementing a traffic light system for international travel similar to England's. Getty Images 
Scotland is implementing a traffic light system for international travel similar to England's. Getty Images 

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pleaded with Scots to reconsider taking foreign holidays this summer as she outlined a new traffic light system for international travel.

Scotland's system is similar to that announced for England last week, allowing for quarantine-free travel, Ms Sturgeon said.

However, the SNP leader urged people to opt for "staycations" instead of travelling abroad this summer, which she said should be done only if essential.

"Everyone should think seriously about whether they need to travel abroad this summer," she said.

"But when it comes to holidays abroad, my advice continues to be to err on the side of caution and to staycation."

Just 12 countries and territories will be granted green list status, and these should be viewed as "the exception, not the rule", Ms Sturgeon said.

Under the measures, which come into force from Monday, travellers from green list countries – including Australia, New Zealand and Israel – are required to take one PCR test on or before day two of their arrival back into Scotland and will not have to self-isolate.

Those travelling from amber countries, including Saudi Arabia, will have to self-isolate for up to 10 days upon arrival and take two PCR tests, one on day two and another on day eight.

They could end self-isolation early by taking an optional PCR test on day five, under an existing test-to-release scheme.

Foreign travellers coming from red list countries, including the UAE and Oman, are currently not allowed to enter England or Scotland unless they have citizenship or residency rights. On arrival, they must stay at a quarantine hotel for 10 days.

"This decision means that as of now we have a consistent four nations' position on international travel. I think that's positive," Ms Sturgeon said.

The first minister said hugging and household mixing indoors would be permitted from Monday as social distancing measures were eased.

"This means – I actually feel a wee bit emotional saying this – that from Monday, as long as you stay within permitted minutes you can hug your loved ones again," she said.

Indoor customers will be allowed at restaurants, cinemas and other venues from Monday due to the success of vaccine campaign in Scotland, which has administered nearly three million first doses.

More on international travel

Updated: May 11, 2021 06:26 PM

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