Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has called for the evidence behind the “shambolic” decision to remove the exemption of quarantine rules from Spain.
The decision was taken by the Scottish Government on Saturday night, amid rising numbers of cases in the popular holiday destination, meaning some travellers would have to quarantine for two weeks when they returned.
Nicola Sturgeon urged caution over booking holidays abroad on Wednesday, as the quarantine rules could be forced to change at short notice.
Mr Rennie, in a letter to the First Minister, has called on her to publish the data that led to Saturday’s decision, just three days after the country was initially given the exemption.
The decision to remove Spain from the exemption list was taken all across the UK.
After the decision, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The decision to exempt Spain earlier this week was taken when the data showed there was an improvement in the spread of the virus. But clearly the latest data has given us cause for concern to overturn that decision.”
In his letter to the First Minister on Sunday, Mr Rennie said: “It is little surprise that you were obliged to reverse that decision on Saturday evening. This is now a shambolic situation and there is a big question as to how Scottish ministers have made such poor-quality decisions.
“I must ask again: why did you release the quarantine from Spain when the infection rate was many times higher than when you imposed the quarantine? If it was not safe to lift the quarantine measures three weeks ago, how had it been judged safe to do so earlier this week?”
He added: “I asked for this earlier this week but it is even more urgent now. Please publish the detailed science which led you to the decision about lifting the quarantine measures for Spain.
“The Justice Secretary said there was a thorough review. It is imperative that this review is published without delay.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Our overriding priority is public safety and continuing to suppress the virus. Where evidence emerges that causes concern – as it has done in Spain – we must act quickly.
“The situation with coronavirus around the world can change rapidly and the First Minister has advised that a cautious approach should be taken to foreign travel because of that unpredictability. We have been clear that we may require to remove a country from the list of places exempt from quarantine requirements should the virus show a resurgence.
On Sunday, the Justice Secretary tweeted that data belonged to the UK Government and therefore cannot be released by Holyrood.
However, he said he had written to UK Government officials to release the data.