Covid in Scotland: Some quarantine-free foreign travel from 17 May

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image captionCountries on the green list, meaning no need to quarantine, will include Portugal

A traffic lights system for foreign travel will come into effect in Scotland from Monday, 17 May.

People going to countries which appear on the "green list" will not need to quarantine on their return, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

The move will mirror that being adopted in England.

The system will be constantly reviewed and countries will move up and down the traffic lights depending on their Covid cases and vaccination rates.

Ms Sturgeon said she was happy with the four-nations approach and intends to be "highly cautious" with adding countries to the green list given the risk of new variants.

The current Scottish government guidance is that you should only go abroad if you have "an essential reason to do so. You must not travel abroad on holiday".

People who do need to travel have to isolate in a hotel, at a cost of about £1,750, or at home for at least 10 days after arriving back.

Which countries are on the green list?

At the moment you can go anywhere in Scotland and stay in holiday accommodation and travel to England, Wales and Northern Ireland is also permitted.

From 17 May, the green list will include Portugal, Israel, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Iceland, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Tristan de Cunha and Ascension Island. A passenger locator form is necessary plus pre-departure testing but no hotel quarantine or self-isolation is needed on return.

The amber list - which will include places such as Greece, Malta, France and Italy - also involves form filling, testing and no hotel stay, but self-isolation for 10 days would be required. Red countries, including India where the pandemic is not under control, would involve hotel quarantine.

The Department of Transport has issued guidance for England. Similar rules are expected to apply to travellers coming back to Scotland.

What is the industry reaction?

There has been a mixed reaction from the aviation and travel industry, with calls for more affordable testing and more detail from the Scottish government about how the system will work.

A statement on behalf of the operators of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports, said the move was a "step in the right direction" but "very much a missed opportunity" with so few countries on the green list.

It added: "We are again in the position of being a week away from a major change to operations and are waiting on details of how the Scottish government wants this to work and how it will be managed.

"We appreciate there are many things to consider but we encourage the Scottish government to work with us on making testing more affordable rather than it being a barrier for those who need and want to travel."

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said: "The loss of inbound travel has had a critical impact on so many businesses across different sectors within Scotland's tourism industry and I know that there will be some relief for many.

"However we must now move forward with a plan for more affordable testing for those coming into the country and a timescale for the introduction of digital vaccine passports for other countries."

Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said the announcement was a boost for the "beleaguered aviation and travel industries" but said the continued government advice on avoiding international travel will "harm the tourism industry".

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