Scots should “be cautious” about booking any holiday staycations this summer despite progress in beating back the virus, Nicola Sturgeon warned.
The First Minister addressed public health concerns as the country prepares for tough quarantine rules on international travel.
However, there remain serious concerns today about differences in approach between the UK and Scottish governments.
It’s feared the English plan to quarantine people from a “red list” of higher risk countries will be “leaky” and provide a backdoor for people coming back to Scotland unchecked.
Sturgeon was pressed on the latest talks with UK government officials and her own advice for Scots desperate to look forward to a break.
“Right now, today, I would say to people not to book foreign holidays, not to book travel overseas, because of everything we’ve talked about and the risks of importation of new variants,” she said at the latest covid briefing in Edinburgh.
“I would say to people, just be cautious about booking holidays – even domestically.”
Sturgeon said she hopes to be in a position to support staycations and the tourism industry.
But she added: “We’re probably going to have to decide over the next few months what are the things that matter most to us. If we open our borders and all go on summer holidays and all bring the virus back, we’ll find we’re pretty quickly living under strict lockdown again.
“Is it worth it to say we’re maybe going to forego the overseas holiday but in return for that we get the kids into school and maybe get to see older relatives again?”
Scotland has been in the highest state of lockdown restriction since the start of the year to drive down the rampant spread of new variant covid.
However, more than a fifth of the adult population has been vaccinated with one dose and infections appear to be dropping.
Quarantine hotels are being enforced from Monday for international arrivals, but the vast majority of people will be landing in English airports where the rules will have greater exemptions.
UK Government minister Matt Hancock earlier suggested Scots would have to travel back from England and quarantine at home.
But that would risk them “infecting” people along the way, Sturgeon warned.
“We can only enforce these quarantine restrictions on people travelling direct to Scotland,” she said.
“The reason we want the UK Government to impose the same restrictions in England is that means anybody coming into Heathrow would have the same restriction.”