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Tue, 11 August 2020

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Nicola Sturgeon hints at 14-day quarantine for English arrivals in Scotland but insists move is ‘not political’

Nicola Sturgeon hints at 14-day quarantine for English arrivals in Scotland but insists move is ‘not political’

Nicola Sturgeon suggested a quarantine could be considered if local outbreaks were not contained (BBC)

3 min read

Nicola Sturgeon has suggested that people from England travelling to Scotland could be required to quarantine for 14 days, but insists the motivation behind the plans is “not political”.

The Scottish First Minister told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday that an influx of coronavirus cases from outside the country was “one of our biggest risks”. 

She added: “This is not a position I relish being in. It also means that we have to take a really close look at making sure that we are not seeing the virus come in from other parts of the UK. 

“That's not political, it's not constitutional, it's just taking a similar view to countries across the world in terms of protecting populations from the risk of the virus.”

“So it's not something we have decided to do at this stage.

"It's not something I'm immediately planning to do it but I will take decisions at the best I can to protect the health of Scotland and to take that from a public health perspective.”

Pressed on whether a 14-day quarantine for people from England was imminent, Ms Sturgeon said that she didn’t want to “focus all of this discussion on quarantine”.

But the first minister revealed she had recently had a call with Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and her counterparts in other devolved countries to discuss cross-border transmissions.

“We need to work together on outbreak management,” she said.

“This is about where there are outbreaks, as there is in Leicester right now, the right outbreak management being put in place, and that then it mitigates against having to put any borders and restrictions in place.” 

“So we need to look at these things very carefully and we need to be driven entirely by public health considerations.”

The comments come after a major row between Westminster and the Scottish and Welsh governments over the UK administration's move to ease its own 14-day quarantine for people arriving from some overseas countries.

Saturday saw Scotland’s third day in a row without any new deaths from Covid-19, with just seven new positive cases confirmed in the previous 24 hours. 

IRELAND QUARANTINE TO STAY

Earlier on Sunday, the newly-installed Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that Brits travelling to Ireland would continue be subject to a two-week quarantine.

He said: “We will be very cautious on international travel generally and on 20 July we will announce our measures in relation to international travel.

“And, essentially, we have developed a methodology somewhat similar to the European Union and its relationship with third countries.”

Mr Martin explained that only countries with coronavirus infection rates “at Ireland’s level or below” would be exempt from the quarantine and that existing restrictions on Brits arriving in the country “still remain”.

“If I was sitting at home in Britain with my computer up wondering about whether to book that Irish hotel or bed and breakfast or whatever in August I would probably hold off for the time being.”

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