Scotland May Seek to Quarantine Visitors From Rest of U.K.

Scotland may seek to impose quarantine restrictions on visitors from other parts of the U.K. should there be a spike in coronavirus infections as the nation starts easing rules on movement.

The semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh doesn’t currently have any plans to isolate people, though would consider such a move if there’s a divergence between infection rates in Scotland and England, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told reporters on Monday. “I’m not ruling anything out if it’s required from a public health perspective,” she said.

The British government is scheduled to review quarantine rules requiring all new arrivals in the U.K. to self-isolate for two weeks. The restrictions came into effect on June 8. Travel and hospitality firms have argued that they deter people from coming to the country.

Scotland’s government is reviewing those plans and Sturgeon said her administration will diverge from U.K. rules if it’s needed to protect Scots from a resurgence of Covid-19. She didn’t say how the measures would be implemented, given the free movement of people within the U.K.

Borders remain under the control of the U.K. government, though Sturgeon argued that Scotland would have the power to impose any additional restrictions under its devolved health powers.

“A four-nations approach is best if we can agree a four nations approach, but that depends on all nations being part of those discussions,” Sturgeon said. “We cannot be dragged along with decisions we’ve had no input into.”

Sturgeon’s pro-independence administration is under pressure to open up the country as quickly as possible to avoid further damage to the economy. At the same time, it’s pushing for more action from London, including an 80 billion-pound ($99 billion) package of support.

Failing that, Scotland’s administration will seek additional borrowing powers from the U.K. government, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said.

“We need as much flexibility as possible to tackle this economic crisis, and so the Scottish government must get from the U.K. government either the funding, or the powers to respond to those challenges,” she said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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