Covid News – Pre-departure test requirement for travel

People arriving in Scotland from abroad will need to take pre-departure Covid tests to help stem the spread of the omicron variant.

International travellers will have to provide a negative pre-departure test taken two days before travelling, in addition to a negative PCR test on or before day two after arrival, under measures agreed on a four nation basis.

The requirement comes into effect at 0400 on Tuesday 7 December.

Nigeria has also been added to the red list for international travel from 0400 on Monday 6 December, meaning all travellers returning to Scotland from Nigeria will be required to quarantine on their arrival in managed accommodation for 10 days.

The changes were informed by a UK Health Security Agency risk assessment.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said:

“It is essential we take steps now to keep people safe, protect the roll out of the booster programme and reduce the chances of unsustainable pressure being placed on the NHS over the winter.
“We have always said it may be necessary to quickly implement fresh measures to protect public health in Scotland, particularly with regards to international travel, and these restrictions are proportionate and necessary to that aim.
“We fully understand the impact the changes will have on staff and businesses in the travel and aviation sectors, particularly as the new variant came at a time when we were beginning to see some signs of recovery.  We will not keep the restrictions in place any longer than is necessary.”

Background 

International travel and quarantine restrictions are in place to protect the wider public health.

Countries currently on the red list are: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namiba, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Pre-departure tests are currently required for red list arrivals and unvaccinated travellers from all countries of origin.  This change extends the pre-departure test requirement to vaccinated travellers and requires all pre-departure tests to be no later than two days before departure.

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