The first Minister of Scotland said that the UK government’s decision-making process on air bridges was “false”.
Nikola Sturgeon criticized the speed with which Westminster expected Scottish ministers to take a decision to lift the quarantine on foreign visitors.
But she said the Scottish government was “very likely” to agree to ease restrictions on people arriving in Scotland from “low-risk” countries.
She said she needed careful scrutiny of “middle-risk” countries.
Under the UK government plan, from July 10, people arriving in England from 50 countries including Spain, Italy, and France will arrive in isolation for 14 days.
Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have not yet accepted the proposals.
“Shampoo decision-making process”
Downing Street said delegated governments should “make and explain decisions” about the requirements for people to quarantine when returning from abroad.
Meanwhile, the president of two of Scotland’s leading airports has warned that failure to adopt the four-nation approach would endanger more jobs.
Scottish Chambers of Commerce called on the Scottish government to “align with a UK-wide approach as a matter of urgency” to help protect jobs.
And the trade organization added: “Policy must be put in one side by everyone in order to give Scottish companies the ability to increase demand and do better, which makes Scotland the best place to invest and do business.”
In her daily briefing on coronaviruses, Ms. Sturgeon said the Scottish government should make “difficult and complex” decisions on this issue – but the position of the UK government has been changing.
She added that the list of countries that Westminster asked Scotland to sign on Thursday was different from that announced on Friday.
“When there is so much at stake as it is now, we cannot allow ourselves to be dragged in the aftermath, and to be completely open about the process of making false decisions from another government,” she said.
“We want to welcome visitors again from all over the world and also want to allow our citizens to travel.
“We also want, if possible for obvious practical reasons, to reconcile these matters with the rest of the United Kingdom.”
She said she hoped a decision would be made “quickly”.
The prime minister added that the Scottish government estimated the coronavirus to spread to Scotland as five times less than in England.
Asked about Nicolas Sturgeon’s criticism of the British government, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said, “The changes we are making now are cautious and will allow people to travel to an exempt country without the need for self-isolation upon their return.”
“It is up to the departments delegated to make their decisions and interpret them about the actions they take,” he said.
“We worked with all departments delegated to quarantine from the beginning, and we are still doing that,” he said.
Earlier, Scottish Minister of Justice Hamzah Yusuf said that he was given 30 minutes to consider the list of countries under consideration regarding “air bridges” before being asked to make a decision on Wednesday night.
He told Good Morning Scotland on BBC Radio that the Scottish government wanted to take a “four-country” approach and asked for more time to consider the case.
British Transport Minister Grant Shaps said there was still time for the member states to join the plans.
“Remember that this will not change until July 10, so there is still an opportunity for them to do so and they may be OK,” he said. “I will not be surprised if we see countries joining us.
“I very much hope that we can do this as four countries at the same time I think it will simplify the matter for the people but they will need to make this decision themselves.
Meanwhile, Derek Provan, CEO of AGS Airports – which owns Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports – said regional differences would jeopardize livelihoods.
He added: “A phased approach will increase the devastating impact that comprehensive quarantine measures have had on our aviation, tourism and hospitality sectors.
“People are really concerned about their health, but they also fear for their jobs.
“Not only is the ability of people to go on a summer vacation, it is about re-establishing the roads that drive trade and investment safely.”