November 29, 2020

Coronavirus: ‘Risk, not politics’ will decide border restrictions

Border 'welcome' sign Image copyright Getty Images

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland remains at risk of further coronavirus cases being imported from other parts of the UK.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, she said any move to place restrictions on visitors from England would be based on risk, not politics.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said such a move would be “astonishing and shameful”.

Scotland has been recording a lower rate of Covid infections than England.

Ms Sturgeon told Andrew Marr: “One of our biggest risks over the next few weeks, as we have driven levels of the virus to very low levels in Scotland, is the risk of importation into the country.

“That’s why we’ve taken a very cautious decision about international quarantine.

“And – this is not a position I relish being in – it also means that we have to take a very close look at making sure that we are not seeing the virus come in from other parts of the UK.”

Image caption The first minister told Andrew Marr that any further restrictions would be based on the risk of importing coronavirus cases

The first minister pointed out that in countries such as Australia and the United States, controls have been put in place to limit movement across state or regional boundaries.

The Scottish government would look at similar measures on a public health basis, she added.

Ms Sturgeon said: “That’s not political. It’s not constitutional. It’s just taking a similar view to countries across the world in terms of protecting the population from the risk of the virus.”

‘No border’

The topic of quarantine for visitors from England entering Scotland was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions, with Mr Johnson describing the idea as “astonishing and shameful”.

He added: “There have been no such discussions with the Scottish administration about that, but I would point out that there is no such thing as a border between England and Scotland.”

The number of new coronavirus cases in Scotland fell back to single figures on Saturday after a rise on Friday led Ms Sturgeon to warn against complacency.

No Covid-19 deaths were reported on Saturday, making it the third day in a row without any new deaths.