No quarantine checks carried out on passengers arriving in Scotland

by Maruf Adedeji

Scottish health secretary, Jeane Freeman, has admitted that officials have carried out no quarantine checks on visitors arriving in Scotland.

While disclosing this on Sunday July 5, 2020, Jeane stated that staff did not have security clearance to check passengers details. She stressed that “They were unable to check arrivals’ compliance with the quarantine rules.”

But she clarified that the passenger checks would begin this week as the security checks were now complete.

The quarantine measures, which have been in place for 4 weeks, include quarantine for 2 weeks for anyone entering Scotland from abroad and a £480 fine for noncompliance.

Ms Freeman explained that Public Health Scotland officials needed access to the UK government’s Home Office system which holds information about new arrivals.

She said there was no exact date yet for when there would be follow-up calls to the new arrivals because the officials just had access to the necessary security clearance.

“I don’t know about Northern Ireland or Wales,” Ms Freeman said when asked whether Scotland was the only part of the UK where no checks had been made.

Public Health England said they had been making contact with one in five arrivals to England and Northern Ireland to ask if they were self-isolating.

England’s health authorities said there had been a high level of compliance, adding that if they cannot contact an arrival after 4 days, then their details are forwarded to the police and Home office for a follow-up.

The Health secretary also spoke about the rule to ask holiday-makers to quarantine if there was a local outbreak while they were away from home.

“It depends on what our infection prevention people tell us is the right things to do,” she said.

The Scottish conservative leader, Jackson Carlaw said the lack of quarantine checks were the “latest testing and checking failure” and also lamented “the whole testing team has been a mess”.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats’ health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton urged the political parties leading Scotland and the UK to “take a hard look at themselves and do better”.

As it stands, Scotland has recorded 18,287 cases and 2,488 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.

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