Domestic portion of Covid vaccine passport scheme to be 'switched off'

Deputy first minister says it 'would no longer be appropriate' for the certification scheme to be used by businesses and venues.

Swinney: Domestic portion of Scottish Government’s Covid vaccine passport scheme to be ‘switched off’ SNS Group

The Scottish Government will “switch off” the domestic portion of its vaccine passport scheme, John Swinney has said.

Scotland’s deputy first minister has said it “would no longer be appropriate” for the Covid Status Certification scheme to be used by businesses and venues.

The Scottish Government removed the legal requirement to show vaccine verification on February 28, however, businesses and venues were able to operate voluntary unregulated schemes.

But on Monday, free lateral flow devices were scrapped in Scotland and people without Covid-19 symptoms are no longer required to test regularly.

These measures were announced as part of the Scottish Government’s Test and Protect Transition Plan.

Responding to a parliamentary question, Swinney confirmed on Tuesday the domestic function of the app would be “switched off”.

He said: “Given the change in guidance on April 18 on asymptomatic testing and the ceasing of the universal testing offer as set out in the Test and Protect Transition Plan, it would no longer be appropriate for Covid Status Certification to be used domestically.

“We have, therefore, removed the guidance for customers and businesses on domestic certification from the Scottish Government website and the domestic function of the Covid Status app will be switched off shortly at a date to be agreed in line with the rest of the UK.”

Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Liberal Democrats leader, has said the use of domestic vaccine passports must not be allowed to return at a later date.

The Edinburgh Western MSP said: “Liberal Democrats were the only party to consistently oppose Covid passports from the very start because they don’t keep people safe. Everyone knew you could have a vaccine passport but still have Covid.

“After the legal requirements were switched off, SNP/Green ministers spent weeks encouraging the operation of unregulated Covid passport schemes. It needed the Scottish Liberal Democrats to stand against this.

“This faulty scheme should never have begun, let alone run for six months at a cost of £30,000 a day.

“The SNP/Green Government should commit today to not bring it back. We can’t afford for them to switch it back on the next time they need to pretend they have a situation under control.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said the app “was an important tool in our response to Covid-19, allowing people access to their vaccine, testing and recovery status, and served a vital public health role during the pandemic”.

“It still provides people with access to their Covid status for international travel purposes and will continue to do so for as long as necessary,” the spokesman said.

“Scotland’s Strategic Framework Update published in February 2022 set out the plan for the future use of protective measures including certification and this has not changed.

“The higher the threat level the more protective measures are likely to be required to decrease the severity and impact of any future strain but these will only be used in a proportionate and appropriate manner.”

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