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Scotland to accept lateral flow tests for international travel

Scotland has moved to allow lateral flow tests for international travellers arriving in the country, bringing it in line with England and Wales.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement, which applies to fully-vaccinated arrivals returning from non-red list countries, this afternoon.

Currently arrivals into Scotland are required to take a PCR Covid test on day two of their arrival into Scotland. But from 4am on Sunday October 31, lateral flow Covid tests will also be accepted provided there is photo evidence.

Travellers arriving in Scotland will be able to book from a list of approved providers at gov.uk from 5pm on Friday (October 29).

England moved to accepting lateral flow tests from this Monday (October 24). The Westminster announcement was made by transport secretary Grant Shapps on October 15. Welsh health minister Eluned Morgan said she was “reluctant” to follow suit when she announced the same change from October 31.

Sturgeon said: “For practical reasons, the Scottish government has decided to align with this change.”

She said she expects lateral flow tests to cost between £20 and £30, “less than a PCR test”.

“I am sure that this change will be welcomed by many travellers, and by the travel industry,” said Sturgeon. “It is important to stress, however, that if your lateral flow test is positive, you must get a PCR test to confirm the result.”

Barrhead Travel welcomed the news.

President Jacqueline Dobson said: “We can finally move into the Christmas period with the most sustainable and accessible travel framework that we’ve had since before the pandemic.

“A four-nations approach is the only feasible way for international travel to fully recover – so it’s positive to see decision-making that is much more in sync than earlier this year.

Dobson added: “Confidence is returning to the market: reflected in the growth in demand across October from our customers. With every announcement comes an increase in bookings and I expect this move will be no different.

“The world is reopening, and travellers are keen to reconnect with countries, cultures and loved ones. Our teams across the country stand ready to support our customers with their long-awaited travel plans.”

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