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Covid passport checks could be needed for ‘work, weddings and sport events’

Covid passports could allow social distancing to be scrapped sooner than planned (Picture: Getty)

Covid passport checks could be introduced at theatres, football matches, wedding venues and even some workplaces, it has been reported.  

Ministers are understood to be looking at using the NHS contact tracing app or creating a new similar version that produces a scannable QR code showing you are Covid safe.

This could include proof of a vaccine, a negative test or having antibodies after recovering from the virus.

The move would allow for social distancing rules to be scrapped earlier than planned and possibly as soon as May 17, when indoor hospitality is due to reopen, according to The Telegraph.

However, it could face backlash from MPs and others who have ethical concerns about the so-called ‘health certificates’.

Critics say the idea is discriminatory and one step away from mandatory vaccination.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Chorus Master Mark Biggins conducts a socially seated choir during the rehearsals for Handel's Messiah at the London Coliseum on MARCH 16, 2021 in London, England. Especially recorded for TV audiences at home, the performance will be broadcast on BBC Two this Easter weekend, on Saturday 3 April. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Covid health certificates could allow large events to go ahead (Picture: Getty)

But a Government source said: ‘If we didn’t even consider this stuff we would be throwing away the advantage we’ve created for ourselves with the Covid vaccine rollout.

‘This isn’t the first thing we would have reached for but we’ve had to do a lot of difficult things recently.’

The Government has insisted no decision has been made yet amid a review into the idea being led by Cabinet Minister Micheal Gove.

He is due to publish interim findings next month following meetings with business groups, MPs, scientists and people with moral concerns about the idea.

Figures involved in those talks have revealed the breadth of what is being considered.

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According to the Telegraph, checks could be mandated at large events including music festivals like Glastonbury and major sports games like Wembley football finals, though this remains undecided.

Big wedding venues could also be allowed to carry out such checks so that hundreds of people can attend.

Vaccinated workers could also use the certificates to prove they are Covid safe after coming into close contact with someone who has the virus.

Builders, cleaners, and electricians are among those who could use the certificates to reassure employers and get business, The Telegraph reports.

Pilot events involving ‘Covid status certification’ checks are expected to be included in trials on how to safely open large events in the coming months.

The plan has drawn mixed reaction from industry leaders.

The plan has drawn mixed reaction from industry leaders (Picture: EPA)

Chris Naylor, the chairman of the UK Weddings Taskforce industry group, said he was comfortable with the idea if it allowed him to open.

But Emma McClarkin, the chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said allowing pubs to be full again providing drinkers’ Covid status is checked would force pubs to adopt the system.

‘If this becomes a trade-off between our businesses being able to increase their capacity by 30, 40, 50% or not then it isn’t voluntary. You’re forcing people’s hand,’ she said.

Earlier, Boris Johnson suggested Covid passports would be introduced but not until all adults have been offered the vaccine.

He sought to calm fears amid backlash for suggesting that pub landlords could refuse punters who have not had the jab.

The comments drew criticism from those in the industry as well as scientists and MPs.

In a bid to quell anger, the PM said on Thursday that there is going to be ‘a role for certification’ but that this could be limited to foreign travel.

He said there were ‘difficult issues… moral complexities, [and] ethical problems that need to be addressed’, adding that ‘whatever happens’ the reopening of pub gardens On April 12 will be unaffected.

He said: ‘You’ve got to be careful about how you do this, you might only be able to implement a thorough-going vaccinate passport scheme, even if you wanted such a thing, in the context of when absolutely everybody had been offered a vaccine.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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