Covid certification to be tested at trial 'mass events'

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown just days after the chaotic January return to school. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson will give details about the Covid status certification scheme on Easter Monday. - Credit: PA

Trial events in a "Covid status certification" scheme are planned to enable the safe return of mass gatherings and indoor events.

Boris Johnson will tomorrow (Easter Monday) set out how government officials are planning a series of trial events to get venues such as football grounds and nightclubs back open without the need for social distancing.

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.

Non-league teams begin the road to Wembley in the FA Cup extra preliminary round. Picture: PA

FA Cup matches at Wembley will be among pilot projects. - Credit: PA

Other events where the scheme is to be tested include the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield - running from from April 17 to May 3 - and a mass participation run at Hatfield House on April 24 and 25.

The pilots will culminate with the FA Cup Final, again at Wembley, on May 15.


You may also want to watch:


The prime minister said the government was doing "everything we can" to enable the return of mass events.

The move comes as the government announced 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.

Most Read

More than 40 Tory MPs have publicly declared their opposition to the idea, and Mr Johnson could struggle to get the plan through Parliament if they decide to oppose it.

In developing the 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.

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 review is also looking at how ventilation and testing on entry could facilitate the safe return of audiences return to mass events and closed settings.

Ministers believe the scheme will be most useful in managing the risks where the are large numbers of people in close proximity such as music festivals, sporting matches and nightclubs.

Certification will not be required in essential shops and on 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.

Officials are working with clinical and ethical experts to ensure there are "appropriate exemptions" for people who are advised to the vaccine and for whom repeat testing would be difficult.

A pedestrian wearing a face mask in Norwich amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Denise Bradley

The scheme aims to find ways to reduce the need for social distancing. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020



Mr Johnson 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."

He is also due to outline the government's approach for easing restrictions on foreign travel when its global travel task force reports on April 12.

Ministers have made clear that the ban on foreign travel will remain in place until at least May 17.

When it is finally lifted, it will be be replaced by a risk-based "traffic light" system with red, amber and green ratings for countries around the world.

This will be based on a range of factors - including the proportion of the population that has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants and the country's access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

Travellers arriving from countries rated "green" will not be required to isolate - although pre-departure and post-arrival tests will still be needed.

For those classed as "amber" or "red", the restrictions will remain as they are will arrivals required to isolate or enter quarantine.

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.

A further social distancing review is looking into ways of allowing closer contact between friends and families, enabling greater capacity on public transport and reduce distancing requirements within venues and workplaces.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus