Travellers arriving in Scotland from any country may be asked to quarantine in a hotel, Nicola Sturgeon has said in a move that piles pressure on Boris Johnson to follow suit.
The first minister said the system of “managed quarantine” would be put in place for anyone arriving directly to Scotland, unlike in the rest of the UK where the scheme is limited to “red list” countries.
Sturgeon told MSPs: “The firm view of the Scottish Government is that in order to minimise the risk of new strains coming into the country, managed quarantine must be much more comprehensive.
“I can therefore confirm today that we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.”
The First Minister also said that she could not “unilaterally” impose such restrictions on people landing elsewhere in the UK and travelling to Scotland, but hoped the other administrations would work with the Scottish government to reduce the number of people doing so.
Scotland’s lockdown will continue until at least the end of February, Sturgeon also said, adding “continued caution” was needed.
There could be some “gradual easing” from the start of March, she said.
“If our progress continues, then I am cautiously optimistic that, as more and more people get vaccinated and with the protection of some of the additional measures that I will cover shortly, we may be able to begin looking towards a careful and gradual easing around the start of March.”
An update on possible easing will be given in two weeks, Sturgeon said.
Some pupils will return to Scottish schools from February 22, the FM added.
Addressing MSPs in Holyrood, Sturgeon said that, subject to confirmation on February 16, all children under school age in early learning and childcare will return.
Pupils in Primary 1 to Primary 3 will also be allowed back into school, as will those in the senior phase of secondary school.
However, the first minister said older pupils will only be able to return to ensure practical work important to achieving qualifications is completed and only between 5% and 8% of any school’s roll should be able to return.