Economy boosting step backed by move to clamp down on poor performers.
People will be able to use private sector tests when returning, or visiting, from green or amber list countries under a change to international travel restrictions.
The step will allow people to choose from a list of approved providers when booking the tests they will need to take after arriving in Scotland.
People previously had to book NHS home PCR tests via the UK Government’s booking portal.
The opportunity to ease the restriction – which will come into effect in early September – has been made possible by enhanced monitoring of the performance and reliability of private testing providers to ensure public health safeguards are maintained. There is also the additional safeguard of removing any provider that does not meet stringent performance measures.
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf said:
“The step provides more choice and flexibility for travellers and will provide a boost for the tourism and aviation sector.
“We have had regular engagement with the UK Government to understand the measures being taken to ensure test results will be communicated rapidly and reliably to both individuals and to contact tracing services.
“We have also been reassured that any positive results will be genomically sequenced to quickly identify any variants of concern.
“The decision carefully weighs the benefit to the travel sector against our responsibility to the wider public health, and is a further endorsement of the resounding success of our domestic vaccination roll out.”
The current list of eligible test providers can be found on the gov.uk website.
Since 17 May, international travellers arriving in Scotland have been required to comply with certain requirements or restrictions, depending on which country they have arrived from. This can include self-isolation and undertaking tests at specified points after their arrival.
Self-isolation is no longer required for international travellers arriving from amber list countries, provided they are fully vaccinated through a UK, EU or USA vaccination programme and take a PCR test on the second day after arrival.