No checks on travellers required to self-isolate in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon’s threat to draw up a separate quarantine regime for Scotland has been undermined - ©Stuart Nicol Photography
Nicola Sturgeon’s threat to draw up a separate quarantine regime for Scotland has been undermined – ©Stuart Nicol Photography
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

Nicola Sturgeon’s threat to draw up a separate quarantine regime for Scotland has been undermined after it emerged that not a single check had been carried out on travellers obliged to stay at home under existing rules.

Jeane Freeman, the Health Secretary, admitted on Sunday that no follow-ups had been carried out on arrivals to Scottish airports, four weeks after a system that requires people arriving from abroad to go into self-isolation for 14 days was brought in.

SNP ministers had suggested that spot-checks would be carried out to ensure rules were being followed. Ms Freeman said a lack of clearance from the Home Office to access travel records, which are collected by the UK Border Force, was to blame for no-one being contacted.

Although she said the issue had now been resolved and that follow-ups would begin this week, the revelations raise new questions about how any separate rules for Scotland in relation to ‘air bridges’ could be enforced.

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01:41 AM

Heathrow ready to host UK’s first Covid-19 airport testing trial

Passengers arriving at Heathrow will be among the first to be offered medical Covid-19 tests at a UK airport, pending Government approval.

Heathrow is ready to host the UK’s first airport Polymerase Chain Reaction testing trial, using the same type of saliva swab test as the NHS.

British and international arrivals from countries not exempt from UK quarantine could be checked for the virus upon landing and know within hours if they have tested positive.

This could help thousands of people avoid a 14-day quarantine, if the British Government extends exemption to travellers who test negative. It is expected that 95 per cent of those tested will receive a negative result.

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Read more: British holidaymakers can only visit 25 of the 74 ‘travel corridor’ countries without restrictions

Heathrow is ready to host the UK's first airport Polymerase Chain Reaction testing trial - AP
Heathrow is ready to host the UK’s first airport Polymerase Chain Reaction testing trial – AP

12:01 AM

News in brief from around the world

  • Authorities in northwestern Spain have ordered the lockdown of a county with a population of 71,000 for fears of an outbreak.

  • Residents of the Mexican town of Sonoyta, across from Lukeville, Arizona, briefly blocked the main road leading south from the US border over the weekend over fears of coronavirus outbreaks.

  • Slovenia says 15 people have been infected with the new coronavirus at a nursing home for the first time in weeks as the country faces a spike in cases.

  • After five straight days of small increases, the number of day-to-day confirmed cases in Italy has dipped.

  • Greece has banned Serbian travelers because of a spike in Covid-19 cases in that country.

  • The Kosovar government on has reimposed curfew times in the capital and three other cities following a significant spike of the new virus cases.

  • The Food and Drug Administration commissioner is declining to back up US President Donald Trump’s claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are “harmless”.

  • Pope Francis is praising UN Security Council efforts for worldwide cease-fires to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The United States has dipped under 50,000 new cases for the first time in four days, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, but experts fear celebrations for the July 4th Independence Day weekend will act like rocket fuel for the nation’s surging outbreak.

Beaches and indoor restaurant seating in Los Angeles County were closed on July 4 - AFP
Beaches and indoor restaurant seating in Los Angeles County were closed on July 4 – AFP

11:24 PM

Covid-19 may not have originated in China, expert believes

Coronavirus may have lain dormant across the world and emerged when environmental conditions were right for it to thrive – rather than starting in China, an Oxford University expert believes.

Dr Tom Jefferson, senior associate tutor at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM), at Oxford, and visiting professor at Newcastle University,  argues that there is growing evidence that the virus was elsewhere before it emerged in Asia.

Last week, Spanish virologists announced they had found traces of the disease in samples of waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before the coronavirus disease was seen in China.

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Workers of the ecology and environment bureau collect samples from the sewage system in Xinle, Hebei province, China - Reuters
Workers of the ecology and environment bureau collect samples from the sewage system in Xinle, Hebei province, China – Reuters

11:20 PM

Today’s top stories

  • Coronavirus may have lain dormant across the world and emerged when environmental conditions were right for it to thrive – rather than starting in China, an Oxford University expert believes.

  • Nicola Sturgeon is under pressure to condemn “disgraceful” border protests where nationalists in hazmat suits urged English visitors to stay away from Scotland.

  • Britain’s theatres, galleries and music venues will receive a £1.57 billion rescue package, which Boris Johnson said will help while their “doors remain closed and curtains remain down”.

  • Parts of Wales have overtaken Leicester for rates of Covid, analysis shows. Official statistics show that Merthyr Tydfil has recorded 179 cases per 100,000, compared with 141 per 100,000 in Leicester. 

  • The Government has “significant concerns” about clothing factories in Leicester opening behind closed doors and won’t hesitate to shut them down if they break the rules, Matt Hancock has said.

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