As of 04 October, COVID testing for inbound international travel to Scotland will be eased and align with the UK following consideration of the logistical, health and economic implications.
Pre-departure tests for fully vaccinated travellers will be removed as of that date. Travellers from non-red list countries who have been fully vaccinated in a country that meets recognised standards of certifications will no longer be required to provide evidence of a negative test result before they can travel to Scotland.
For practical purposes, Scotland will also align with the UK post-arrival testing regime. Details for the UK are currently being finalised.
Separately, in consultation with Public Health Scotland, the SNP Government will consider how additional safeguards and surveillance of inward travel can be implemented to guard against the importation of new variants. This will be at no cost to travellers. Details will be set out in due course.
Last week, the SNP Government announced how restrictions put in place to protect public health have been substantially revised to make travel simpler, with green and amber classifications merged while the red list is retained for those countries deemed to have high COVID19 case rates or variants of concern.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson MSP said:
“We have concerns that the UK Government’s proposals to remove the requirement for a pre-departure test for some travellers could weaken our ability to protect the public health of Scotland’s communities.
“However, we also recognise that not having UK wide alignment causes significant practical problems and creates disadvantages for Scottish businesses.
“Also, if non alignment led to travellers to Scotland choosing to route through airports elsewhere in the UK, the public health benefits of testing would be undermined in any event.
“We have urgently considered all these implications, weighing any possible impact on the public health and the logistical realities. After liaising at length with stakeholders from the aviation sector to understand the impact of adopting a different approach in Scotland, we have reluctantly concluded that, for practical reasons, alignment with the UK is the best option.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“While many aspiring travellers will be pleased at this further easing of restrictions, I encourage those who travel or travel back into Scotland to take tests if and when they can.
“It is furthermore important that we all continue to adhere to physical distancing and other rules and guidelines, especially during a time when COVID deaths across Ayrshire have been at their highest this week since the first week of March. My thoughts go out to the loved ones of these 14 people who passed away this week.”
As of Monday 04 October, travellers from red list countries, and those who haven’t been fully vaccinated, will need to comply with existing restrictions.