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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the Covid vaccine passport scheme is to continue but will be relaxed as people will soon be able to access venues with a lateral flow test but she warned unvaccinated individuals are 'risking lives' and the situation remains 'precarious'

By Scott Maclennan

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Nicola Sturgeon speaking at Holyrood.
Nicola Sturgeon speaking at Holyrood.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that the Covid passport system will continue for some venues amid concerns about rising infection rates in Europe.

But it will not be extended as was feared by a range of businesses in the hospitality sector in a move described as proportionate by the First Minister.

The remaining legal restrictions will, however, stay in place, including face coverings but she warned that the situation in Scotland remained "precarious."

Due to that she called on people who are socialising over festive period to take lateral flow tests, especially those who have not been vaccinated who she said could be “putting lives in danger.”

Ms Sturgeon says people were already asked to do this routinely twice a week but over the festive period to make an "extra effort."

Working from home, though not ideal for many, should remain the norm whenever possible as it "remains one of the most effective protections" against Covid.

Ms Sturgeon said: "I can confirm that the judgement we arrived at this morning are as follows: Firstly, for at least a further three-week period we will retain vaccine certification for the venues and events currently covered by the scheme. That is, late night licence premises with a designated area for dancing on seated indoor events of 500 people or more. Outdoor events of 4,000 people or more and any event with 10,000 people or more.

"Given the current state of the pandemic, it is our judgement that it would not be appropriate at this stage to remove this protection against transmission.

"Secondly, however, we have decided that from December 6 it will be possible to access venues or events covered by the scheme by showing either proof of vaccination as now, or a recent negative lateral flow test result. So we'll also ensure that the schema remains proportionate going forward and also help our wider efforts to stop transmission, through greater use of LFD tests more generally.

"And finally, as I indicated last week, having also considered the possible extension of the scheme to a much wider range. This included indoor theatre cinemas and other hospitality venues. Let me stress, this was a very, very finely balanced decision. However, I can confirm that at this stage, we have decided not to extend the scope of the scheme.

"We have taken account of the fact that although our situation is precarious, rates are currently stable and indeed slightly declining."

On the more general approach going forward, Ms Sturgeon said: "So when you see those ads, please take a moment to listen and remind yourself of the protections that will help keep you and others safe. What are those other protections?

"Firstly, as well as vaccination. We are asking everyone to take regular lateral flow test. We have been asking people to do this routinely twice a week.

"However, over the festive period. We are asking for extra effort. And so this next request is vitally important – on any occasion that your socialising with others, whether that is going out for drinks or dinner, visiting someone at home or even going shopping somewhere, that might be crowded, please take an LFD test before you go, and if it is positive, do not go. Instead, get a PC test and self isolate as you wait for the result.

"Please continue to wear face coverings on public transport, in shops and when moving around in hospitality settings. This remains a legal requirement but it is also a vital protection. A study published just last week, suggested that face coverings may reduce the risk of transmission by over 50 per cent."

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