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Travel rules in Scotland explained as government scraps traffic light system

Scottish Government chiefs have announced a major relaxing of travel rules for people coming in and out of the country.

The current traffic light system of red, amber and green countries is set to be scrapped and replaced with one red list only.

There will no longer be an amber list – meaning anywhere not on the red list is considered as green and clear for travel.

However, all travellers into the country will still need to have a negative test prior to departure and a negative PCR test on day two after arrival.

The government also announced that from 4am on 22 September, eight destinations will be removed from the red list.

They are Turkey, Pakistan, The Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya.

The number of countries recognised in the eligible vaccinated traveller policy, is also being expanded to recognise countries where vaccine certification meets appropriate standards.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new rules:

When are rules changing?

Fully-vaccinated people from the EU and US will be able to travel to Scotland

From Monday, October 4 the traffic light system will be scrapped and replaced with one red list only.

Will I still need to take tests before and after travelling?

Yes. Unlike in England all travellers will still need to have a negative test prior to departure and a negative PCR test on day two after arrival in Scotland.

The Scottish Government says this decision has been made due to “significant concerns at the impact on public health.”

The UK Government has scrapped testing prior to travelling into England and those fully vaccinated will now only need to provide a cheaper lateral flow test two days after arrival.

However, this has not been adopted in Scotland.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The testing of international travellers, both before and after travel, is an important part of our border health surveillance to minimise the risk of importing variants of concern.

“The Scottish Government aims to maintain a four nations approach to international travel restrictions, but will need to carefully consider the risks associated with aligning with the UK Government.”

What if I’m travelling from a red list country?

Those returning from red list countries will still need to spend 10 days in a government-approved quarantine hotel.

Which countries have been added to the eligible vaccinated traveller policy list?

From October 4, Canada, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Brunei, Taiwan, Dominica, Japan, South Korea, Qatar, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will be added to the list.

Travellers from the above countries who are fully-vaccinated will be able to arrive in Scotland without going into quarantine under new restrictions coming into force.

What are the Scottish Government saying about it?

Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson said the simplification of the system recognises the success of global vaccination programmes.

He said: “This is a major step but one with sensible safeguards built in recognising the success of the Scottish Government’s vaccination programme.

“The expansion of the eligible vaccinated traveller policy combined with the changes to the traffic light system will provide a welcome boost to Scotland’s tourism industry.

“However, we have concerns that the UK Government’s proposals to remove the requirement for a pre-departure test for some travellers will weaken our ability to protect the public health of Scotland’s communities. While we want to maintain a four nations approach to these matters, we need to consider urgently their implications.”

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