THE SCOTTISH Government is considering “the risks and benefits” of allowing travellers to bypass the two-week quarantine period if they test negative for Covid.

On Tuesday, the UK Government announced that from December 15 anyone arriving in England from a destination not on the travel corridors list could skip the 14 day self isolation if they take a private test on or after their fifth day in the country. 

With results normally taking 24 to 48 hours this means people could be released from quarantine after just six days.

However, currently, this won't apply to passengers whose final destination is in Scotland, as they'll still have to self-isolate for the full term.

Announcing the new measures for England, Transport secretary Grant Shapps said this new strategy would allow people to “travel more freely, see loved ones and drive international business.”

He added: “By giving people the choice to test on day five, we are also supporting the travel industry as it continues to rebuild out of the pandemic.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson told The National: “We recognise the impact that the pandemic has had on airports and airlines and we are exploring alternatives to quarantine that will minimise the risk to public health.

“We are aware of the UK government’s plans to introduce test to release and we are working with the main commercial airports in Scotland and clinical advisors to understand the risks and benefits of such an approach here.

"We are currently assessing if test to release can be implemented in a way that minimises risk, which includes understanding the capacity of private sector labs to conduct testing to a minimum standard as well as determining the best time for a pilot of this nature."

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport encouraged ministers north of the border to act sooner rather than later.

He said: "Any movement on reducing and ultimately removing quarantine is a welcome step as that is a policy that is unmanageable and is not being followed, but causing untold damage to aviation and industries that rely on it.

"Although this step won't have a huge impact, it is an encouraging move and we can only hope the Scottish Government shows a similar will to introduce a similar testing regime to the one they deem acceptable for students.

"After months of laborious discussion, it is time for the Scottish Government to act.”

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary was sceptical about the move in England.

He told the BBC: “I think the idea is not very well thought-out.

“I think the problem with this system in the UK is that you only have to isolate for five days. And we know that people simply don’t isolate.”

O’Leary said it would be more effective to test passengers before they get on a flight.