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Daily Record
Daily Record
Chris McCall

Nicola Sturgeon reveals list of air bridges from Scotland: Here's the countries Scots could visit

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed a list of countries which will be exempt from Scottish quarantine restrictions as of Friday.

The First Minister revealed that a total of 57 nations will form air bridges with airports in Scotland - meaning Scots can travel to approved countries and not have to enter a 14-day period of quarantine upon their return.

Among the countries are France, Italy, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Poland.

Australia is also on the list as it is still low risk - but people in Melbourne can't travel.

But quarantine restrictions WILL still apply for Spain and Serbia in the short term. The situation will be reviewed on July 20.

The SNP leader said this was a "very difficult decision" to make, but that it was needed to "protect Scotland as far as possible from a resurgence of this virus in the weeks ahead".

Scots should also NOT travel to English airports to get around restrictions.

"You cannot get around the need to quarantine in Scotland by flying to or from an airport in England," Sturgeon said.

Passenger information from airports such as Manchester will be shared with Scottish public health officials, she added.

The UK Government last week published a list of 59 countries around the world which would no longer be subject to quarantine rules.

These include most countries in Europe, Caribbean islands, countries in Asia - including Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong - as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Holyrood ministers have now approved this list with the exception of Spain and Serbia.

Neither the UK Government or Scottish Government are recommending travel to the USA, where Covid-19 cases have spiked in recent weeks.

Speaking at her daily media briefing, the First Minister continued: "If there is a sudden surge in infections in a particular country then we would perhaps have to reimpose quarantine arrangements here.

"No country will rule that out right now and nor should they. People should be aware of this when making plans to travel."

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said: "We welcome clarity around the opening up of routes into Scotland and support the Scottish Government's risk-based approach in balancing the economic challenges with the health risks.

"However the news that Spain is not on the list of air bridges today will come as a blow to the aviation sector and our tourism industry with Spain representing a huge proportion of restart plans.

"The Spanish market accounted for 250,000 visits to Scotland in 2018 and with many Scots now expected to shelve plans to travel to this destination, it may be likely that airlines abandon plans to capture the summer market which would have been required to avoid mass redundancies across the sector".

The SNP leader had faced growing calls from travel industry bosses to make the announcement, which they viewed as vital to kick-starting Scotland's tourism sector.

Sturgeon last week criticised the speed at which Westminster expected Holyrood ministers to make a decision on lifting quarantine on overseas visitors.

Under the UK Government's plan, which takes effect from July 10, people arriving in England from 50 countries including Spain, Italy and France will no longer have to isolate for 14 days.

Downing Street said at the time devolved governments should "make and explain their own decisions" on requirements for people to quarantine when returning from abroad.

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