New Covid rules for travellers arriving from South America

From 4am on Friday January 15, anyone returning to Scotland from South America must isolate for ten days.

New Covid rules for travellers arriving from South America Getty Images

Following the identification of a new variant of coronavirus in Brazil, the Scottish Government announced they will impose additional restrictions on all arrivals from South America.

From 4am on Friday January 15, anyone returning to Scotland who has been in South America and some related destinations in the previous ten days must isolate for ten days.

In addition to the South American nations of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, this will also apply to Portugal, including Azores and Madeira, Panama, Cape Verde and British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands.

These travel restrictions will replicate the measures that were put in place for Denmark and South Africa.

Travellers who have been in any of these countries or territories in the ten days prior to their arrival in Scotland must isolate, along with all members of their household.

No exemptions from isolation will apply.

Qatar and the Caribbean islands of Aruba and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are also removed from the country exemption list at the same time.

The UK Government has confirmed that implementation of pre-departure testing for arrivals into England is delayed until Monday morning, to allow carriers and passengers additional time to prepare.

The Scottish Government originally intended to introduce this additional measure on Friday January 15, but it is now necessary to delay implementation to allow for coordination between the UK Government’s regulations and the relevant Scottish regulations.

Transport secretary Michael Matheson said:

“It is important that everyone follows the regulations that mean any travel must be for an essential purpose. 

“Very few people should be travelling internationally, and then only for a genuinely essential reason.

“The emergence of concerning variants identified in Brazil, as well as South Africa and Denmark in recent months, means we must think carefully about restrictions on international travel.

“At this early stage of vaccine rollout, and with case rates at high levels across the UK, it is important we take the right steps to prevent importing new strains that can increase transmission or undermine the vaccine in Scotland. 

“We are in close discussion with other administrations about additional measures we can put in place, including the timing of the introduction of pre-departure testing.”

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