International travellers to be allowed to use private sector Covid tests
International travellers to Scotland will be able to use private sector Covid tests when arriving from green or amber list countries under a change to international travel restrictions.
People will soon be able to choose from a list of approved providers when booking the tests they need to take after arriving in Scotland, instead of having to book NHS home PCR tests via the UK government’s booking portal.
The new rules, in effect from early September, have been made possibly by enhanced monitoring of the performance and reliability of private testing providers to ensure public health safeguards are maintained, the government said.
There is also an additional safeguard in that any provider which does not meet stringent performance measures will be removed.
Health and social care secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The step provides more choice and flexibility for travellers and will provide a boost for the tourism and aviation sector.
“We have had regular engagement with the UK Government to understand the measures being taken to ensure test results will be communicated rapidly and reliably to both individuals and to contact tracing services.
“We have also been reassured that any positive results will be genomically sequenced to quickly identify any variants of concern.
“The decision carefully weighs the benefit to the travel sector against our responsibility to the wider public health, and is a further endorsement of the resounding success of our domestic vaccination roll out.”