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No extension to Scottish vaccine passport scheme Published Date: 23/11/2021

Scotland's vaccine passport system will not be extended to more venues, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The BBC reported that the first minister had been considering expanding the scheme to cover cinemas, theatres and other hospitality venues.

But she told MSPs that it would not be proportionate to do so, with case numbers having fallen slightly.

People will be allowed to present a negative test rather than proof of two jabs to enter venues that are already covered by the scheme from 6 December.

These include nightclubs and large events such as some football matches and concerts, and would bring Scotland's system into line with others in countries like Wales.

Ms Sturgeon said taking a lateral flow test before socialising with others over the festive period was a "vitally important" step in minimising the spread of the virus.

A decision on adding more venues to the scheme had been expected for several weeks, with Ms Sturgeon previously telling MSPs that it could help "get through what will be a challenging winter without having to reintroduce restrictions on trade".

The government published an evidence paper which suggested Scotland faced a choice between either extending the vaccine passport system or closing down venues and limiting the number of people who can meet up.

However, ministers ultimately decided to do neither after studying the latest data at a meeting of Ms Sturgeon's cabinet on Tuesday morning.

The first minister said that while Scotland was still in a precarious position, with "significant and sustained" pressure on the NHS, the data was actually "more positive than we might have expected it to be".