An Aberdeen bacteriologist has welcomed news the Scottish Government is considering introducing the use of quarantine hotels.
Quarantine hotels have been used in countries such as New Zealand and Australia, with great success.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport Michael Matheson confirmed in an interview with BBC’s Good Morning Scotland that the Scottish Government was looking at using hotels in a bid to minimise the threat of other Covid-19 variants entering Scotland.
The MSP said: “[We’re looking at] the option of quarantine hotels as a means by which individuals coming into the country would have to self-isolate in a location designated for them for that period.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed the proposals were being looked at during the coronavirus briefing.
Currently, people arriving in Scotland have to self-isolate for 10 days. Quarantine hotels would mean they would have to stay within the hotel for their self-isolation period before being allowed out.
Emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University Hugh Pennington previously called for the use of the hotels.
He said: “It’s never too late. It would have been far easier if we did it back in summer last year when the cases were low.
“I’m not sure how many hotel rooms there are in Aberdeen, thousands I imagine, that could be used, I imagine the staff are currently furloughed.
“People coming in needing to self-isolate would be in the hotels, and would be fed and watered there. They could be tested a few times, and if they’re negative they could always leave early.
“It really had a positive effect in Australia and New Zealand. There are very sound reasons why we should do it.
“We need to do it to make sure people are self-isolating, it’s really quite important. I’m pleased that they are thinking about it.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn also praised the idea.
He said: “It is so important that we do everything possible to mirror the successes of countries like New Zealand and Australia in limiting the potential for the virus, and variants, to be imported.
“We need to look at absolutely everything and the fact is our airports are surrounded by empty hotels so why not put them to use?
“So called quarantine hotels would ensure that the full period of isolation is completed and would make a real impact in our fight against the virus so I’m encouraged that the Scottish Government is considering this proposal.”