Scots to be banned from travelling to 'high risk' areas of UK and Ireland

Scots will be banned from travelling to high risk areas of the UK and Ireland as part of the new tiered restrictions system unveiled by the Scottish government earlier today.

Scots will be told not to travel to high tiered levels in Scotland, England, Wales and the island of Ireland.
Scots will be told not to travel to high tiered levels in Scotland, England, Wales and the island of Ireland.

Up to now, Scots in the five health boards of NHS Lothian, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Forth Valley and NHS Lanarkshire have been advised to not travel outside of those areas.

Those living outside those regions have also been advised not to travel into those areas, but that advice has not officially extended to the rest of the UK and Ireland.

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Under the new tiered system, unveiled by Nicola Sturgeon at her daily coronavirus briefing, the advice not to travel into high risk areas will become official guidance.

The guidance will apply for the whole of Scotland from Level Zero to Level Four, with exemptions for essential travel to or from Level Three or Level Four areas, with the potential for limits on travel distance or a general stay at home message in Level Four.

This move is not as strong as the Welsh government’s decision to make it a legal regulation to not travel to Wales from high risk areas of the UK, the Scottish guidance is stronger than current advice.

It effectively bans travel into any area in England in Tier Three, and bans travel to Northern Ireland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland while they are in their current state of high tier restrictions or ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown.

The guidance will see those living in areas of low prevalence such as the Highlands banned from travelling to areas of high prevalence such as Glasgow or Edinburgh.

The strategic framework states: “We also need to minimise the opportunities for the spread of the virus from areas of high prevalence, whether in Scotland, elsewhere in the UK, or the wider CTA [Common Travel Area].

That means that we have to limit non- essential travel to and from such areas. We will therefore advise people to avoid unnecessary travel either to or from Level 3 or Level 4 areas in Scotland.

"Similarly people – whether they live in Scotland or elsewhere – should not travel between Scotland and areas of high prevalence elsewhere in the UK or in the wider CTA unless they really need to do so.

“More generally, people who live in an area where there are protective measures in place should not travel to another area to avoid them. And in Level 4 areas, if the prevalence of the virus requires it, it may be necessary also to set limits on the distance people should travel, or to ask them to remain at home wherever possible.”

The Scottish government has stated this guidance may become law “where necessary” and would “engage closely” with councils and transport providers with a particular focus on rural and island communities.

The document adds: “We will enable low-risk activities outdoors as far as possible and seek to avoid adverse effects such as loneliness.

"We will ensure that there are exceptions, for example, for essential travel including for work (where that is not reasonably practicable at home), education, outdoor exercise, and access to healthcare and other essential services, for weddings and funerals, for essential shopping where that is not possible locally, and for transit through restricted areas.”

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