Removal of pre-departure test requirement for travel to Scotland
The rules on testing are to be eased for people travelling to Scotland from abroad.
People who are fully vaccinated or under the age of 18 will no longer need to take pre-departure Covid tests from Friday.
Passengers will also no longer be required to self-isolate on arrival until they have received a negative result.
The same changes for people travelling to England were announced on Wednesday.
Under the new rules:
- From 04:00 GMT on 7 January, people who are fully vaccinated and those aged under-18 will no longer need to take a test two days before travelling to Scotland from countries outside the UK and the Common Travel Area. On arrival, they will have to take a PCR test but they will no longer have to self-isolate while awaiting the result.
- From 04:00 GMT on 9 January they will only have to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test on day two. But this test must be bought from a private test provider - free NHS tests are not allowed.
- Unvaccinated passengers will need to continue to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests on day two and day eight, and self-isolate for 10 days.
In addition, the Scottish government has agreed to approve vaccine certificates for a further 16 countries and territories from 04:00 on 10 January to allow quarantine-free travel to Scotland.
Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: "Scotland's airports and our travel operators continue to be hit incredibly hard by the travel testing requirements introduced last month which resulted in a major slowdown in our recovery, increased costs for passengers and further undermined both business and consumer confidence.
"Scotland's airports and international connections are vital to securing a strong economic recovery and businesses will welcome the decision by the Scottish government to align pre-departure and return testing requirements with those in England."
She added: "Any divergence on international travel testing between Scotland and the rest of the UK has a damaging impact on Scotland's economy and urgent confirmation that any further reductions will be made on a four-nations basis is essential to keeping Scotland's airports competitive."
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