Travellers returning to Scotland from Dubai must quarantine on arrival for 10 days following a surge in passengers returning from the Gulf state with positive cases of Covid-19.

The Scottish government imposed the ruling from 4am this morning (Monday), in a move described by trade body the  Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association as “understandable”.

Passengers who have travelled to Scotland from Dubai since January 3 are also being asked to isolate for 10 days from the date they arrived back in the country.

“The change is due to a number of positive cases identified in passengers who have flown into Glasgow from Dubai since the new year,” the Edinburgh administration said.

“This preventative action addresses the significant rise in cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), and the increase in the numbers of cases testing positive in Scotland.

“Guidance remains clear that people should not be undertaking foreign travel other than in exceptional circumstances.”

SPAA president Joanne Dooey said: “Removing Dubai from the safe list is understandable. We believe that there has been a cluster of infections around Scots who travelled to Dubai over the Christmas and New Year period.

“There’s also the news today that one footballer returning from there has also tested positive. Whilst we’re keen to see a return to increased international travel, protecting the health of the whole country remains our key concern and we are supportive of this move.

“Dubai is an extremely popular destination for Scots for both leisure and business travel. Emirates has been flying from Glasgow to Dubai for 16 years since 2004 and was the only airline to fly an A380 into Scotland.”

Scotland’s transport secretary Michael Matheson said: “It is evident, both in Scotland and in countries across the world, that the virus continues to pose real risks to health and to life and we need to interrupt the rise in cases.

“Imposing quarantine requirements on those arriving in the UK is our first defence in managing the risk of imported cases from communities with high risks of transmission. That is why we have made the decision to remove Dubai from the country exemptions list.

“Whether or not an overseas destination has been designated for quarantine restrictions, our message remains clear that people should not currently be undertaking non-essential foreign travel. People need to stay at home to help suppress the virus, protect our NHS and save lives.”

Failure to comply with the requirement to quarantine may result in a fine of more than £480.