Nicola Sturgeon update: Decision expected on expansion of vaccine passport scheme in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to set out a further expansion of vaccine passports in Scotland during a scheduled coronavirus briefing.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 7:44 am

The First Minister will make an announcement on the potential changes to Covid restrictions shortly after 2pm on Tuesday.

The Covid ID cards scheme – vaccine passports – came into effect in October and currently encourages nightclubs and large venues to only allow entry to people who can show they have been double jabbed.

It is expected Ms Sturgeon will further extend the scheme to more venues including theatres, cinemas and other hospitality venues.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due update MSPs on any changes to the Covid-19 restrictions

Any changes to current Covid restrictions are said to come into force from December 8 onwards.

Opposition parties have taken aim at the Scottish Government’s handling of the vaccine passport scheme.

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Scottish Conservative leader Douglass Ross said there is “no evidence to suggest vaccine passports do anything to stop the spread of Covid-19”.

Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said vaccine passports should be abolished and demanded a full parliamentary vote before any changes to coronavirus restrictions come into force.

He said the SNP and Greens have not provided any factual evidence to show the current Covid ID scheme is keeping Scotland safer, adding “no wonder it has been attacked by everyone from health experts to civil liberties groups.”

Ahead of Tuesday’s announcement, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The situation around the pandemic is serious so we are being open about all of the options available to us that may be required to protect the public.”

Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, called on the First Minister to “seriously consider the economic damage” further restrictions could have on businesses.

In a letter addressed to Ms Sturgeon published on Monday, Dr Cameron said Scottish businesses remain “unconvinced” that the public health benefits of an extension to Scotland’s coronavirus scheme outweigh the negatives for individuals, businesses and the economy.

She said the Scottish Government has also failed to demonstrate that “workplace transmission” is happening in office settings, and said further encouragement of the work from home scheme will have a devastating impact on city centre economies.

In response, a Scottish Government spokesperson said encouraging working from home is “an important mitigation in controlling the virus” and to minimise other economic and social restrictions.