‘Don’t book holidays’: FM warns against overseas travel

Nicola Sturgeon said restricting travel across borders should have happened earlier.

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The First Minister has reiterated UK Government advice not to travel overseas except for “absolutely essential purposes”.

At the daily briefing on Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon said she knew talk of travel restrictions is “tough to hear” but that it was key in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

She said: “Travel restrictions will be a key way in which we help to stop new cases and in particular new variants being imported into Scotland.

“As we have found out, and learned to our cost, over the summer the virus travels when people travel.”

The First Minister said that there will be a need for travel restrictions even after the vaccination is more widespread.

She also said restricting travel across borders was something that “perhaps” should have be done at “an earlier stage”.

Sturgeon said: “No one should be travelling overseas right now except for absolutely essential purposes and I am afraid that means you should not at this stage be booking holidays overseas.”

The First Minister was speaking ahead of a UK Government announcement later on Wednesday in which the home secretary, Priti Patel, is expected to outline new quarantine plans.

Sturgeon said she did not want to pre-empt the announcement but said she was concerned the plans would not go far enough.

It is expected that Patel will announce measures for quarantine hotels across the country, with certain travellers made to self-isolate.

Sturgeon said: “I am concerned that the proposal does not go far enough.”

The First Minister said her preference is for there to be consistent quarantine rules across the UK but if Westminster does not go far enough then the Scottish Government would look to have a more “comprehensive system of supervised quarantine”.

National clinical advisor Jason Leitch said: “We don’t know what’s going to happen in our own country never mind the whole world.

“The world has responded to infectious disease before.

“The WHO say one of the key ingredients to get your pandemic under control is stop importation.

“It’s pretty straightforward the advice, it’s very hard to implement, of course, as you’ve seen all over the world.”