Scotland and Northern Ireland announce changes to travel lists

5 August 2021, 00:27 | Updated: 5 August 2021, 00:28

Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced a number of changes to the rules around international travel
Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced a number of changes to the rules around international travel. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

India and three Middle Eastern countries have been removed from Scotland's coronavirus travel red list and arrivals from France will no longer need to self-isolate if fully vaccinated, the Scottish Government has said.

Travellers from Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and India will not need to isolate in a hotel on entry to Scotland, and the rules for travellers returning from France will be relaxed to align them with other countries on the amber list.

Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway are also being added to the quarantine-free green list.

However, Mexico, Georgia and the French overseas departments of La Reunion and Mayotte have been added to the red list, meaning travellers will need to quarantine in a hotel upon return to the UK.

The Scottish Government said the new lists will come into force at 4am on Sunday.

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In Northern Ireland, fully-vaccinated travellers from France will also no longer need to isolate, and a number of countries including Germany, Austria and Norway have been added to the green list.

India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE have been moved to the amber list and Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list.

The changes in Northern Ireland also come into force at 4am on Sunday.

It come as similar changes were made to the traffic light system in England.

Quarantine hotel costs in Scotland will also change "in light of a decision taken by the UK Government, which manages contractual arrangements on behalf of the four nations", the Scottish Government said.

The price of a stay in managed isolation is to increase from £1,750 to £2,285.

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Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson said: "These latest changes make it clear that international travel remains challenging.

"Recent relaxations to travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people were due to the huge success of the Scottish Government's vaccination programme.

"It is vitally important we protect that progress through continued vigilance on importation, and we continue to urge caution given the risks caused by variants of concern."

The devolved nations have control over their own amber, red and green lists of countries as well as the rules around quarantine upon return.

Whilst Scotland and Northern Ireland have followed England in introducing the same travel relaxations, the changes have drawn criticism from the Welsh Government which is still advising against "all but essential" travel abroad.

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"We have long called for a clearer system of rules regarding international travel,” said a spokesman for the Welsh Government.

"The ad-hoc nature of the decisions made by the UK Government on the issue does little to instil confidence or provide clarity for travellers.

"We continue to advise against all but essential travel abroad because of the continuing risk of infection, including with new variants of coronavirus which may not respond to our vaccines.

"We will consider the latest changes announced by the UK Government."