Covid Scotland: International travellers to leave quarantine hotel after one night due to ‘loophole error’

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A father and daughter who went into hotel quarantine in Scotland on Monday have been told they can leave after only one day, due to a loophole with their arrival.

All passengers arriving in Scotland on international flights have to enter “managed isolation”, unless they are coming from within the Common Travel Area, which includes the UK and Ireland.

Chun Wong and his daughter Kiernan flew to Scotland from the United States via Dublin, and went straight to a hotel at Edinburgh Airport.

Chun Wong at Edinburgh Airport

As one of Scotland’s first international arrivals since the new quarantine rules came into force on Monday morning, he said he was happy to do “whatever it takes” to stay safe.

He said: “I made it, I’m glad I’m here and whatever it takes to stay – I’m good.

“We’ve talked to (my daughter) about it already so it’s going to be a nice hotel stay – if anything we will get our feet settled here.

“I’m just glad that we’ve landed and just getting ready to get settled.

“Even though I’ve got my Covid-19 shots already (I’ll do) whatever it takes to make sure everybody is safe – I’m all for it.”

He added he would spend his time in quarantine with his daughter playing Guess Who, Uno and maybe poker.

 UK Government accused of ‘undermining’ Scotland’s tougher quarantine rules

However, he has since been told that he is allowed to self-isolate at home.

Mr Wong told BBC Scotland: “I received a call from reception saying a gentleman from the airport would like to talk to me.

“He said that since I landed in Dublin first and then got a connecting flight to here, I was not required to quarantine in a hotel.

“I still have to quarantine and do the self-testing kit on the second and eighth day, but they said it was an error on their part.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has expressed concern about gaps in the current system for international arrivals, telling a coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Monday: “It would be better if we had that four nations approach, or at least a three nations approach where the border of the island that Scotland, England and Wales share, had the same provisions in place.”

In England, the UK Government will only require hotel quarantine for visitors from a “red list” of 33 countries designated as high risk, meaning travellers arriving from elsewhere could avoid it by entering Scotland via England.

Visitors would still have to self-isolate for the 10-day period, but would not have to do so at one of the designated hotels due to a lack of agreement between Scottish and Westminster governments.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday that he is happy to discuss the matter with the Scottish Government.

In Scotland, Passengers not coming from within the Common Travel Area will now have to pay £1,750 to quarantine in a room at one of six designated hotels across the country.

Six hotels have been block-booked in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, with up to 1,300 rooms available.

Three of the the hotels are near Edinburgh Airport, two close to Glasgow Airport and one near Aberdeen Airport.

What are the rules?

Scottish Government guidance stipulates those subject to quarantine require a negative Covid-19 test no more than three days before travelling and to have booked at a room at a quarantine hotel in advance.

They will also have to submit a passenger locator form to the Home Office declaring which countries they have been to in the 10 days before arrival in the UK.

Airlines have been asked to check for these and they will also be checked by Border Force officers on arrival, who can issue fines of £480 for non-compliance.

Security will then escort passengers to baggage reclaim and to pre-arranged transport to the quarantine hotel.

On arrival at the hotel, they will be given two home testing kits to be used on days two and eight of isolation.

These are covered by the cost as are three meals per day, fruit and soft drinks.

If they test positive at any point they will be required to stay in the hotel for 10 days after the test, at an additional charge starting at £152 daily for the first adult.

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