Vaccine, negative test or level of immunity make up Covid certification plan to be trialled at mass events in April
Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Shehab Khan
The government has announced plans to bring in a 'Covid status certification' scheme, alongside other measures in England, to enable the safe return of mass gatherings and indoor events as lockdown restrictions ease.
The measures will be trialled at a series of sporting events from April, including the FA Cup final and Carabao Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, along with the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
The system will also be tested at smaller venues including a cinema and nightclub.
In developing the 'Covid status certification' scheme, officials will take into account three factors – whether an individual has received the vaccine, has recently tested negative for the virus, or has “natural immunity” having tested positive in the previous six months.
However the pilots will not all involve Covid certificates and will explore ventilation and test-on-entry as other means to safely reopen venues.
Why the announcements aren't popular among all MPs
Liverpool City Council confirmed the events happening at the Hot Water Comedy Club, Luna Cinema, ACC Business Event and Circus Nightclub will not require people to show Covid certificates. The aim of these events is to trial logistics of event testing and ticketing venue admittance and post-event follow-up.
Where and when the Covid pilots are happening
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)
The prime minister – who will set out more details on Easter Monday – said the government was doing “everything we can” to enable the return of mass events.
The NHS is said to be currently working on ways of providing people with the means to demonstrate their Covid status through “digital and non-digital routes”.The move comes as the government announced that more than five million people in the UK have now received their second dose of the vaccine.
However MPs will want to study the proposals closely with many deeply suspicious about anything which smacks of a “vaccine passport” for domestic use.
Vaccine passports would be a tool for discrimination and bullying says Labour's Baroness Chakrabarti
It comes after government ministers were warned against introducing vaccine passports by a cross-party groups of MPs, including senior Conservatives and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
More than 70 MPs, including 40 Conservatives, as well as peers from the House of Lords, launched a campaign to oppose the move which they say would be “divisive and discriminatory”.The scheme will not be used in essential shops and public transport.
It will also not apply to businesses which are set to reopen over the coming weeks such as pubs, restaurants and non-essential retail.
The first trial is due to take place on April 16 at the Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool, to be followed two days later by the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
The government also confirmed plans for a traffic light system of restrictions with regards to international travel from May 17 at the earliest - with countries rated as red, amber or green based on the Covid situation in each country.
"This will help ensure the UK’s vaccine progress isn’t jeopardised and provide clear guidance for travellers," the government said.
What does the traffic light system mean?
There will be no isolation requirement for travel from countries in the new green category, although pre-departure and post-arrival tests will still be needed.
The ‘red’ and ‘amber’ restrictions would remain as they are now - with the requirement to enter quarantine or self-isolation upon return.
The government would base the rating on levels of vaccination in the foreign country, the rates of infection there, and any emerging variants.
Officials said it was still too early to predict which countries would be on which list and they continue to advise against booking summer holidays abroad.
Coronavirus: What you need to know