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Wales to make NHS Covid pass compulsory for crowded events

People will have to show an NHS Covid pass to attend many events in Wales from next month.

The requirement, which will come into force from 11 October, will mean 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

First minister Mark Drakeford said that the move was in response to high levels of coronavirus cases. He encouraged people to work from home where possible and get fully vaccinated, and also revealed that enforcement of other measures would be increased, such as wearing face coverings in indoor public settings.

He said: “Across Wales, coronavirus cases have risen to very high levels over the summer as more people have been gathering and meeting. Tragically, more people are dying from this terrible virus.

“The very strong advice we have from our scientific advisers is to take early action to prevent infections increasing further.

“The last thing we want is further lockdowns and for businesses to have to close their doors once again. That’s why we must take small but meaningful action now to control the spread of the virus and reduce the need for tougher measures later.”

The Welsh Covid pass differs from the vaccine passports touted for England and Scotland in one key regard; people do not have to be vaccinated to get an NHS Covid pass, they can get one by taking a lateral flow test.

Drakeford said “They are clearly not vaccine passports, you can get a Covid pass without being vaccinated. It avoids those difficult ethical issues of people who cannot be vaccinated.

He also said that it was possible that falsifying a Covid pass could be made a specific criminal offence.

“We hope introducing the requirement to show a Covid pass will help keep venues and events – many of which have only recently started trading again – open,” he added.

“Showing a Covid pass is already part of our collective effort to keep businesses open with some major events, such as the successful Green Man festival, using it. We will continue to work closely with all businesses affected to ensure a smooth introduction and operation of this system.”

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