First Minister urges caution as new Covid variant is discovered
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Government is "acting on a precautionary basis" after a new strain of Covid-19 was discovered in a number of southern African countries.
News of the highly mutated B.1.1.529 strain broke yesterday, with the UK Government putting an immediate ban on direct flights to the UK from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatin.
Sturgeon tweeted that the new variant is of "significant concern", adding that while "more data and analysis is needed" all travellers entering Scotland from those countries from today would have to immediately self-isolate regardless of vaccine status.
The Scottish Government's advice says that anyone who has arrived in Scotland from any of the six countries in the previous 10 days will have to enter a managed quarantine hotel on arrival and will also have to take day-two and day-eight PCR tests regardless of vaccination status.
The government said quarantine hotels "will be stood up to cater for any arrivals from these countries".
Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, said: “International travel restrictions are necessary to protect the greater public health.
"While many restrictions have been significantly relaxed – largely thanks to the success of the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 vaccine roll out – we have always said it may be necessary to quickly impose fresh measures to protect public health in Scotland.”