Coronavirus contact tracers have contacted fewer than one in 20 Scots who are required to quarantine after travelling abroad.
New figures also show the National Contact Tracing Centre failed to reach more than 1,100 travellers it attempted to contact to see if they are complying with self-isolation requirements – including more than 250 in the week ending Sunday September 20 alone.
Figures from Public Health Scotland show that between June 22 and September 20, 95,564 people arrived in Scotland from countries where quarantine is required – such as France, Spain and Greece.
Since June 22, contact tracers have successfully contacted 4,581 people to check if they are self-isolating two weeks following their return – just under 4.8% of those required to do so.
But there were 1,129 people they were unable to contact, the data shows.
The most recent figures, for the week ending September 20, show 12,386 travellers arriving in Scotland were required to quarantine, with contact tracers getting in touch with 312 of them. There were 258 people who they tried, but failed, to contact.
The figures prompted Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie to demand action from the Scottish Government, saying: “The holes in the quarantine system urgently need fixed.”
Mr Rennie said while Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf had told him he wants spot-checks on returning travellers to be increased, “the very opposite” of this has happened.
The Scottish Lib Dem leader added: “Among the fraction of travellers that tracers have sought to spot-check, in excess of 1,000 couldn’t be found.
“Experts have told us some people returning from abroad haven’t played by the rules. The weak system has proven unable to identify this, let alone do anything about it, and that was when virus elimination was the goal.”
He also said “common sense improvements to tracking and reporting the virus” must be made, including monitoring the health of those quarantining, and for ministers to “look seriously at the science of airport testing accompanied by follow-up tests at home”.
Mr Rennie insisted that taken together, these steps “could have huge benefits and help Scotland catch up with what other countries are doing”.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “100% of those requiring to quarantine are contacted by us by email.
“We originally committed to Public Health Scotland making contact with around 20% of travellers, up to a maximum of 450 per week.
“At the time this was considered to be a robust sample size given the number of flights and passengers affected.
“As the number of flights into Scotland has increased, the National Contact Tracing Centre has been exceeding our target and contacting around 600 returning passengers per week.
“The percentage figure will fluctuate week by week, depending on the number of people requiring to quarantine.”