The Scottish government has announced its list of 57 countries exempt from mandatory two-week quarantine upon arrival into the country.
The list is nearly identical to the one issued by the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) concerning arrivals into England, but with two omissions: Spain and Serbia.
Previously, a “double lock” prevented nearly all international travel: the Foreign Office (FCO) advised against all non-essential travel abroad, invalidating travel insurance, and a mandatory 14-day quarantine period was imposed on all inbound arrivals to the UK.
From 10 July, the quarantine will be lifted for those travelling to Scotland from designated “travel corridor” destinations. However, there is a separate list of 67 countries exempt from the FCO travel warning as of 4 July – and the two are not the same. Only 46 destinations can be found on both lists.
Travel industry leaders in Scotland have called for Spain to be included on the list of destinations exempt from quarantine.
Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, which owns Glasgow and Aberdeen airports, said the requirement for those entering Scotland from Spain to self-isolate would affect 60 per cent of its leisure flights.
“[The] announcement means airlines can now start making decisions on what flights they will operate, however, the glaring omission is Spain,” he told insider.co.uk.
“It’s important we work quickly to bring the travel advice issued today in line with the rest of the UK. We’ve requested a meeting with the Scottish Government to discuss what further measures could be put in place that would allow the lifting of restrictions and prevent airlines from cancelling routes to what is one of Scotland’s most popular and important tourism destinations.”
Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said that while clarity was welcome, “the news that Spain is not on the list of air bridges will come as a blow to the aviation sector and our tourism industry with Spain representing a huge proportion of restart plans.
“The Spanish market accounted for 250,000 visits to Scotland in 2018 and with many Scots now expected to shelve plans to travel to this destination, it may be likely that airlines abandon plans to capture the summer market which would have been required to avoid mass redundancies across the sector.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We cannot lift restrictions on people arriving from Spain because of the significantly higher prevalence. We also have concerns about Serbia where a recent outbreak has led neighbouring states to close their borders with that country.”
She added that Scotland’s lower Covid-19 infection rate made its position “a bit different to that of the UK as a whole” and warned people that they would not be able to get around the quarantine rules by flying into England and then travelling on to Scotland.
The list of exempt countries will be reviewed on 20 July, when it’s hoped Spain and Serbia will be added, said Sturgeon.
The new “travel corridors” mean those travelling from approved countries into Scotland will no longer have to self-isolate unless “they have visited or stopped in any other country or territory in the preceding 14 days.”
Those who have stopped off in a country not on the list will still be required to self-isolate for two weeks, as will travellers arriving into Scotland via an English port or airport if they have been in a country which is not on the exemption list.
All inbound travellers, whether visitors or UK residents, must provide a passenger locator form before their arrival into the country.
The measure is not necessarily reciprocal; for example, although travellers won’t have to self-isolate when returning from New Zealand, there is very little chance of them gaining entry there in the first place.
Here is the full list of countries exempt from quarantine on arrival into Scotland:
Ireland is already exempt as part of the common travel area, as are the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The 14 British Overseas Territories will also be exempt.