The Government has announced it plans to bring a Covid-status certification system into place in England, as part of the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The domestic ‘vaccine passports’ will enable the safe return of mass gatherings and indoor events, with a series of trial events to take place over the next few months.
What is a Covid passport and how will the certification scheme work?
Officials will take three factors into account as part of the development of the scheme, including whether an individual has received the Covid vaccine, if they have recently tested negative for the virus, or if they have “natural immunity” from having tested positive for the virus in the previous six months.
Officials are also planning a number of events to trial this system over the next few months, as they search for a way for venues such as nightclubs, sporting events and music festivals to reopen without social distancing measures in place.
The review will also look at how ventilation and testing on entry could enable the safe return of people to large events and closed settings.
Where will the trials take place?
The Covid-certification system is being trialled in the following places:
- Hot Water Comedy Club, Liverpool (16 April)
- FA Cup Semi Final, Wembley Stadium (18 April)
- World Snooker Championship, Sheffield Crucible Theatre (17 April - 3 May)
- Luna Cinema, Liverpool (23-25 April)
- Mass participation run, Hatfield House, Hatfield (24-25 April)
- Carabao Cup Final (25 April)
- ACC Business Event, Liverpool (28 April)
- Circus Nightclub, Liverpool (30 April - 1 May)
- FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium (15 May)
How can I get a ‘Covid passport’?
The NHS is said to be currently working on ways in which people will be able to show their Covid status through both “digital and non-digital routes”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out more details of the scheme on Monday (5 April), but said the Government was doing “everything we can” to allow large events to return.
However, certification will not be required in non-essential shops and on public transport, or in pubs, restaurants and cafes.
More than 70 MPs, including 40 Conservatives, have launched a campaign to oppose the move, as they said it would be “divisive and discriminatory”.
‘We are doing everything we can to enable the reopening of our country’
Addressing the Covid-status certification announcement, the Prime Minister said: “We have made huge strides over the past few months with our vaccine programme and everyone in the country has made huge sacrifices to get us to this stage in our recovery from Covid-19
“We are doing everything we can to enable the reopening of our country so people can return to the events, travel and other things they love as safely as possible, and these reviews will play an important role in allowing this to happen.”
Writing in The Mail On Sunday, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We will examine the risks closely, plan to keep people safe, mitigate the dangers and, in doing, so we will be able to have spectators returning in full to events once more.
“Each successful pilot is a huge step forward towards the life we all miss sorely, every day.”