Covid Scotland: John Swinney warns that a negative test may be required for both the vaccine passport

JOHN Swinney has warned that Scots may be required to show a negative Covid test as well as proof of vaccination before being allowed to switch to some settings.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Covid Recovery Secretary said this “theoretical option” is being considered as part of a debate on whether vaccine passports should be expanded.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to inform Holyrood of the decisions next Tuesday, but said it could be extended to cinemas, theaters and other aspects of hospitality and all changes will take effect on 6 December.

READ MORE: Sturgeon: Covid passports in cinemas and hospitality “from December” – but final decision delayed

Currently, Scots have to provide proof of double vaccination or exemption to enter nightclubs and large gatherings.

In addition to deciding whether to expand the current system for nightclubs and other major events, ministers are also considering whether people could be allowed to show a recent negative lateral flow test as an alternative to reporting vaccination data.

Mr Swinney said “this” should be a verdict that was considered part of this process, the government has not come to a conclusion on the question of adding a testing element to the program “.

But he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland program that it is also possible that people may be required to show both a vaccination certificate and a negative Covid test in some “high-risk places”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon accused of “avoiding uncertainty about failing to leave companies” after delaying Covid passport

The deputy minister said: “Another option is to add testing to vaccinations as well, i.e. vaccine certification and testing.

“It’s a theoretical option.”

He added: “We need to make sure we make the right and proportionate decisions, that is the test that the government needs to take.

“We want to look at the latest information on the state of the pandemic and make decisions about what awaits us, as we know it will be a very challenging winter, and make appropriate and proportionate decisions.”

Last month, Health Minister Humza Yousaf told MSPs that Scotland has not followed other European countries in offering a negative test as an alternative to a vaccine passport because people fear “falsifying” the results.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf: Fear of falsifying results if negative test is allowed instead of vaccine passport

However, business leaders have spoken openly about the possibility of expanding the vaccination certification system.

However, Mr Swinney said changes to vaccine certification are being considered so that “business and the public can enjoy life as normally as we can.”

With the increase in Covid cases recently, he added: “The alternative is apparently much broader restrictions that the government wants to avoid if we can.”

In his comment, he said he hoped Scots could enjoy a “normal Christmas”, but stressed that this could only happen if “people are careful and as long as we continue to follow the basic measures in place”. .

But the deputy minister said: “The government has had to issue a warning that this is an unpredictable pandemic and we need to look at the sequence of events, the acute threat we continue to face as a result of the pandemic and ensure we have appropriate measures in place to protect the public so that life can continue. normally.

“It’s the government’s strategic focus, we’re trying to manage the pandemic as much as possible so people can enjoy life as normally as possible.”

Jackie Baillie, a Scottish Labor health spokesman, said Mr Swinney’s comments showed that “the SNP government is now forced to acknowledge that a negative test of evidence must be an integral part of our coronavirus reduction strategy”.

He added: “If the SNP had not put bias ahead of public safety and listened to the vote in the Scottish Labor Party months ago, they would not have been forced into this embarrassing U-turn.”

“Proving a negative test should be part of our Covid reduction strategy, but making it mandatory in addition to a vaccine passport could place too much of a burden on people and businesses.

“The government needs to look at the scientific evidence, listen to companies and consider whether there is enough evidence of a negative test to allow access to restricted areas.”

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