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Why the NHS Covid Pass is being introduced in Wales

AN NHS Covid Pass will be needed to enter nightclubs and events in Wales from next month.

First minister Mark Drakeford confirmed the incoming changes at a Covid briefing this afternoon.

Mr Drakeford said NHS Covid Passes would be required for certain “high risk venues” from October 11.

All over-18s will need to have a NHS Covid Pass to enter:

  • Nightclubs
  • Indoor, non-seated events for more than 500 people, such as concerts or conventions
  • Outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people
  • Any setting or event with more than 10,000 people in attendance

People who are fully vaccinated in Wales can already download the NHS COVID Pass to securely show and share their vaccine status. It also allows people to show they have had a negative lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours.

Why are NHS Covid Passes needed in Wales?

The first minister began his briefing by outlining the current Covid situation in Wales.

He said: “Across the three weeks we have seen rises in the number of hospital admissions for coronavirus. The demand has grown significantly.

“At the same time pressure on critical care has risen. We are now seeing a rise in the number of people who are dying as a result of this cruel virus.

“SAGE made it clear that taking early action was the best way to contain the virus.”

Mr Drakeford said that the Welsh Government needed to do five things to fight the virus.

That included launching the vaccine booster campaign, offering the vaccing to 12 to 15-year-olds, reinforcing the need to work from home where possible, and reminding people of the law surrounding face coverings.

It also included the introduction of a mandatory NHS Covid Pass for certain venues.

Is the NHS Covid Pass the same as a vaccine passport?

Mr Drakeford said the introduction of vaccine certification had been considered by the Welsh Governemnt, but that they had opted against that decision.

Instead, they are introducing the NHS Covid Pass, which Mr Drakeford argues was different to a vaccine passport in “a number of important ways”.

He said: “We have been considering vaccine certification for some time now. Only allowing people who have been fully vaccinated access to venues raises a host of legal, ethical, and technical questions.

“The cabinet has decided not to make vaccine certification a compulsory measure in this cycle. But we will be making the existing Covid Pass compulsory for high-risk venues.

“The Covid Pass confirms vaccination status or that you have had a negative lateral flow test in the last 48 hours.

“It is different from vaccine certification in a number of important ways. You can demonstrate your Covid status in other ways than just vaccination. It is free and already available and being used now.

“It has been used by many festivals and events already.”

How will the NHS Covid Pass help?

While Boris Johnson opted not to introduce any Covid Pass in England, the first minister said it was needed in Wales to prevent further measures being introduced.

He said: “The reason we are doing it is to avoid having to take anymore intrusive measures to deal with coronavirus.

“We want to do anything we can now to keep Wales open and keep Wales safe.”

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