One of Scotland’s leading public health experts has backed the Scottish Government’s decision to keep PCR testing in place for international travellers.
The UK Government has announced it will allow vaccinated travellers to replace the PCR test currently required on day two of their return to England with a cheaper lateral flow test from next month. They will also no longer have to take a pre-departure test before returning.
But those arriving at Scottish airports will still be required to take the pre-departure test, including from non-red list destinations, before returning, even if fully vaccinated, and the day two test must be a PCR.
Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at Edinburgh University, who advises the Scottish Government, said: “Letting go of PCR testing is letting go of one of the main ways we would identify new variants, and be able to even know if it was coming in, if it was being seated.
“And secondly, to be able to catch positive cases we have tried to control and keep the numbers as low as we can and keep the pressure off the NHS.”
Prof Sridhar also said the Government needs to make PCR testing more affordable and accessible for those travelling to and from Scotland.
Scottish Conservative shadow transport minister Graham Simpson said: “Scotland has become the most restrictive country in Europe because the SNP has failed to be on top of fighting the virus.
“Scottish airports are on their knees and vital jobs and livelihoods remain at great risk.
“This announcement once again highlights the SNP are failing to engage with the industry while ignoring their concerns.”
The Scottish Government also confirmed it will end its current traffic light system for international travel.
From October 4, the green and amber lists will merge but the red list will remain.
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