Nicola Sturgeon is “highly concerned” about the risk from Covid-19, after a “worrying resurgence” of the virus in several countries.
The first minister warned people should be “very cautious” about travelling abroad amid outbreaks in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain, and said quarantine measures could be reintroduced at short notice following any “sharp increase in cases”.
Ms Sturgeon said she would not personally look to book a foreign holiday at the current time, after a 14-day quarantine was reintroduced on Saturday, just days after restrictions had been lifted for the first time since lockdown.
The SNP leader said the decision was reversed after “deeply alarming” data emerged about a rise in cases, and warned the danger of the virus coming to Scotland from abroad was “probably higher than at any time since the start of lockdown”.
“I remain highly concerned, possibly increasingly concerned, about the risk from Covid,” Ms Sturgeon said.
“We are seeing a worrying resurgence in Covid cases in several countries across Europe; for instance, part of Spain and Belgium, and we’re seeing outbreaks in Germany and France.
“There are important lessons for us from that – the most immediate is that as the prevalence of Covid in Scotland continues to fall, we must guard against the risk of cases coming in from outside.”
The first minister’s warning echoes statements made by Boris Johnson earlier in the day who said there was evidence the virus is starting “to bubble up again” in other European countries.
“Clearly we now face, I’m afraid, the threat of a second wave in other parts of Europe and we just have to be vigilant and we have to be very mindful,” Mr Johnson said.
Speaking during the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said she did not want to give any “expectation” of compensation for those who had booked travel to Spain but said it is something that would be considered.
She added: “People planning overseas holidays need to be aware that you cannot assume that the rules that apply to your destination will remain the same while you are there, or will be the same when you come to travel home.
“My advice to you remains to be very cautious about non-essential foreign travel at this time, and if you are in a position to have a holiday the safest way of doing so is by staying here in Scotland.”
Administrations across the UK are holding discussions over whether to adopt a four nations statement of intent to “eliminate” coronavirus, Ms Sturgeon said.
Michael Gove had earlier suggested there will be a joint statement on the way forward, saying the idea had come from the devolved administrations.
Ms Sturgeon said she wants a strategy of “effective elimination” to be put in place, where the virus is driven down to the lowest possible level, and raised the idea with the UK Government on Friday.
She said: “At the moment what we have sought to look at is whether we can come to a joint approach that makes very clear that we are all trying to drive this virus to the lowest possible level, which I would call effective elimination, and keep it there.
“As opposed to having an approach that allows the virus to hover around at a certain level and then hope it doesn’t overwhelm you.”
Ms Sturgeon also warned that hospitality venues could be forced to close again if “slipping standards” on Covid-19 measures lead to outbreaks of the virus.
The first minister said she had heard anecdotally of some venues failing to follow the rules but insisted the new standards “must become the norm”.
Ms Sturgeon advised customers who are aware of venues not following social distancing regulations and proper hygiene measures to go elsewhere.
Another four positive cases of Covid-19 were registered overnight in Scotland, bringing the total to 18,558. No deaths were recorded, meaning the total number of fatalities remained at 2,491.
Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government is likely to adopt a “cautious approach” to lockdown easing when its planned review takes place on Thursday.