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COVID-19: Scotland to introduce vaccine passports from October

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By Euronews with AFP
A sign points the way to the Scottish Ambulance Service vaccine bus in Glasgow on July 28, 2021.
A sign points the way to the Scottish Ambulance Service vaccine bus in Glasgow on July 28, 2021.   -   Copyright  Andy Buchanan / AFP
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The Scottish parliament has voted in favour of introducing COVID-19 vaccination certificates for entry to nightclubs and other events, the nation becoming the first in the UK to adopt such a measure.

The new pass, which will come into force on October 1, is aimed at slowing the rise in the number of coronavirus cases blamed on the new school term, and also at avoiding the reintroduction of new pandemic restrictions, Scotland's health minister said before the vote in Edinburgh.

"We do not want to re-impose any of the restrictions that have been in place for much of this year as we all know how much harm they have caused to businesses, to education and to people’s general well-being. But we must stem the rise in cases," Humza Yousaf said.

Certificates of vaccination against COVID-19 will be required for entry to nightclubs, music festivals and to attend some football matches. A smartphone application will keep track of people's vaccination status.

According to the health ministry, the introduction of the vaccine passport will encourage young people to get the jab.

Boris Johnson's government has indicated a similar measure could be brought in for entry to clubs and stadiums in England, but no concrete announcement has yet been forthcoming.

Each nation of the United Kingdom implements its own anti-coronavirus restrictions. Like England, Scotland has lifted most restrictions this summer following a long winter lockdown, building on the success of the British vaccination rollout.

But the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned last week that the number of cases -- which had multiplied by five in four weeks, with a positivity rate rising from 5% to 11.5% -- was very worrying.

The UK as a whole has suffered 134,000 deaths from COVID-19 in total, with the number of cases rising above 30,000 per day. However the number of hospitalisations (7,700 in all) and deaths (around 100 per day) remains well below what it was during previous waves.