Double-jabbed travellers to Scotland will be able to take a lateral flow test on the second day of their trip in changes announced by the First Minister on Tuesday.
The change will align Scotland’s travel testing rules with those in England, but Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs they might not have made the amendment if the same had not been not done south of the border.
The change will not apply to those travelling from the seven countries currently on the red list, who will have to continue to isolate for ten days in a quarantine hotel.
The change will come into effect at 4am on Sunday.
From 5pm on Friday, travellers will be able to book tests from the UK Government website. They are expected to cost between £20 and £30, a lot less than the PCR tests.
The aviation and tourism industries have repeatedly pushed for the move, with an open letter from more than 40 organisations claiming the need for more expensive PCR testing could kill off hopes of a recovery for the sectors in 2022.
Speaking on Tuesday, Sturgeon said: “For practical reasons, the Scottish Government has decided to align with this change.
“From 4am on Sunday, October 31, therefore, people travelling to Scotland can also provide a lateral flow test – rather than a PCR test – on day two of their arrival.
“Travellers will be able to book lateral flow tests from the list of private providers on the gov.uk site from around 5pm on Friday – in advance of their arrival into Scotland.
“These tests will cost between £20 and £30 per test – which is less than a PCR test.
“And so I am sure that this change will be welcomed by many travellers, and by the travel industry.
“It is important to stress, however, that if your lateral flow test is positive, you must get a PCR test to confirm the result.”
Following a question from Tory MSP Liz Smith, the First Minister said “if it had been down to us”, then the change might never have been made.
“The reason we have decided to align is because – for practical reasons – if we have different arrangements in place here then the risk is that people decide to travel to Scotland through England.
“They then don’t do what we would be requiring, so our travel industry takes a hit but we don’t have the public health benefit.”