The Scottish government has warned Scots that restrictions on overseas travel are likely remain in place beyond the country’s transition to "level zero" Covid restrictions.
No mainland areas of Scotland will transition to level zero Covid-19 restrictions next week as planned, first minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed on Tuesday afternoon (22 June).
The country’s current restrictions will remain in place for another month until 19 July, a delay of around a month, Sturgeon revealed during a Scottish government briefing.
The delay will likely further impact the UK’s first "seacation" season, with a number of cruise lines planning calls in Scottish ports this summer.
The Scottish government hopes to lift remaining legal restrictions on people’s freedoms owing to Covid-19 on 9 August, whereby the levels system will be mothballed.
Its new roadmap stipulates a 9 August unlock will be conditional on all over-40s being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by this date, and subject to a further review ahead of 9 August.
On travel, though, it warns: "There are likely to be targeted restrictions on overseas travel beyond level zero. However, we will keep restrictions in place only for as long as necessary and proportionate to respond to the threat of importation of the virus."
The government added these restrictions would continue to be reviewed regularly and would be relaxed "when it is safe to do so".
Testing will remain a "crucial" aspect of the Scottish government’s travel policy, with the administration stressing officials would continue to "explore options to expand the options available to arrivals".
These will include work on developing vaccine certification "that meets international standards".
"The permanent solution will take the form of an app with a paper option for people who are not digitally enabled," said the government. "This will be developed in line with the draft data standards in the World Health Organization smart vaccination programme, which is being refreshed to include negative testing and natural immunity to provide Covid-19 status verification.
"The system will be fully interoperable with all countries in the Common Travel Area."
The roadmap reiterates Sturgeon’s insistence Scotland will seek an "aligned approach" with the other governments within the Common Travel Area, while reserving the right to "make the decisions right to protect Scotland".
Other work will include longer-term solutions to managed quarantine and monitoring self-isolation compliance.