Stop being divisive’ Sturgeon backlash over threat to quarantine visitors from rest of U

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As lockdown eases and the Scottish tourist season due to start up on July 15, the First Minister hinted people coming to Scotland from England, Wales and Northern Ireland could face isolation measures for up to two weeks. The measures come amid fears of a spike in coronavirus cases as lockdown measures are eased.

Speaking during a press briefing at St Andrews House, Ms Sturgeon, said: “If we did see an ongoing divergence between infection rates and levels in Scotland and other parts of the UK, from a public health perspective, we would require to give consideration about how we mitigate that and guard against infection rates rising in Scotland as a result.”

Ms Sturgeon’s administration currently has rules in place meaning anyone visiting Scotland from overseas must go into quarantine for two weeks or face a £480 fine.

She stressed her strategy was to “get as close to elimination as possible” but suggested the UK Government was “letting it circulate at higher levels”.

However, Jackson Carlaw MSP, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: “While it may be that localised lockdowns will be needed to deal with individual flare-ups over the months ahead, they should be handled as such,” he said.

“This should not be used as an issue to drive a wedge between Scotland and England.”

Andrew Bowie, Tory MP for West Aberdeenshire, added: “We are one nation. Scottish, English, Welsh, Northern Irish.

“We are in this together. Please stop this divisive, nasty talk of closing borders to ‘others’.”

A Downing Street spokesman, said: “On the issue of quarantine we have taken a four-nation approach to these matters throughout.

“We have worked closely with the devolved administrations at all times and this continues.”

But when asked if Scotland’s First Minister could block the plan, the spokesman told “We do continue to work with the Scottish Government on this.

“Our approach on the issue of quarantine has been a four-nation one and we will continue to work with the devolved administrations.”

Ms Sturgeon said she was not currently planning the measures but would consider doing so “if it is required from a public health perspective”.

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She stressed Scotland needs to be “on our guard against cases coming into Scotland from elsewhere”.

Taking a direct hit at the UK Government, she said that Boris Johnson’s administration was “letting it circulate at higher levels”.

She added: “I would really welcome a statement from the Prime Minister that England’s strategy was about trying to eliminate the virus as well, as opposed to what appears to me to be perhaps letting it circulate at higher levels, as long as it doesn’t threaten to overwhelm the National Health Service.

“We have to keep these things under review if we want to keep our levels of infection as low as we can get them.”

Latest figures show that Scotland has recorded no new deaths in the last four days with the number of cases remaining at 2,482.

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