Coronavirus: First ministers of Scotland and Wales slam ‘shambolic’ air bridges announcement

The first ministers of Scotland and Wales have hit out at the UK government’s handling of its coronavirus travel quarantine.

Downing Street is set to reveal which countries will be exempt from the current requirement for passengers to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to England.

It has already been revealed that more than 50 countries will be on the list, including Spain, France, Italy and Germany.

Greece and the US will not be exempt, however.

But a row has broken out between Westminster and the devolved administrations over the policy, with the Department for Transport saying Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will “set out their own approach”.

Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon said the way Boris Johnson’s government has gone about setting up air bridges has been “shambolic”.

She said: “When so much is at stake as it is right now, we can’t allow ourselves to be dragged along in the wake of, to be quite frank about it, another government’s shambolic decision process.

“We want to welcome visitors again from around the world and we also want to allow our own citizens to travel.

“We also want, if possible for obvious practical reasons, to have alignment on these matters with the rest of the UK.”

This was echoed by Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, who said dealing with Westminster in the last few days had been an “utterly shambolic experience”.

“If ever there was an example of making an announcement first and then trying to work out what you meant by it – that is what we have seen since this announcement was first trailed in the press,” he said.

“And day after day we have attempted to get a sensible answer from the UK government on how they intend to make these changes, which countries they intend to extend the arrangements to, and I just have to say it’s been an impossible experience to follow.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News “we haven’t managed to get the devolved administrations to sign up to it yet”.

But he added: “This won’t come in until 10 July, so there’s still an opportunity for them to do that. It’s obviously a decision for them to make.”

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