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Covid passport trials to allow fans into FA Cup and World Snooker could ‘start in weeks’

Gibraltar residents discuss coronavirus vaccine rollout success

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Thousands of fans could be allowed into trial events such as the FA Cup and League Cup finals as Britain starts to unlock. Those wishing to attend will be required to test negative for coronavirus before entering and will take a second test as they leave.

The Government hopes to introduce ‘Covid passports’, which will show whether someone has received a coronavirus vaccine or has antibodies having previously been infected with the disease.

According to the Daily Telegraph around a dozen pilot schemes will be announced in the next few days.

They will include the FA Cup final, League Cup Final, one FA Cup semi-final and the World Snooker Championship.

Discussions are also reported to be taking place about adding the Brit Awards to this list.

If successful vaccine passports could be used to help pubs, nightclubs and festivals reopen.

However civil liberty concerns have been raised with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer branding them “un-British”.

Southampton’s FA Cup semi-final clash with Leicester on April 18 is expected to have 4,000 spectators in Wembley.

However this will be restricted to locals living in the London borough of Brent.

Authorities hope 20,000 will be allowed into the FA Cup Final on May 15.

The FA is hoping to have at least 45,000 fans at the four Euro 2021 games it is hosting, including the final.

At the first April events only a negative coronavirus test will be required to gain entry.

In May this could be consolidated into an NHS app which shows whether a person has tested negative, been vaccinated or has antibodies.

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Boris Johnson said coronavirus passports could “give maximum confidence to business and to customers” allowing the country to reopen.

However more than 70 MPs, including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and 40 Conservatives, have joined a campaign against the passports.

They pledge to “oppose the divisive and discriminatory use of Covid status certification to deny individuals access to general services, business or jobs”.

Tory MP Sir Graham Brady, who heads the 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs, commented: “With high levels of vaccination protecting the vulnerable and making transmission less likely, we should aim to return to normal life, not to put permanent restrictions in place.”

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The Government hopes to remove all legal restrictions on socialising by June 21 as part of its gradual policy for unlocking England.

Britain has surged ahead of other European countries with its coronavirus vaccination programme allowing lockdown to be relaxed.

More than half the UK’s adult population has received at least one coronavirus vaccine.

By contrast the World Health Organisation (WHO) has branded the EU’s vaccine rollout “unacceptably slow”.

Dr Hans Henri Kluge, the WHO’s Europe director, commented: “Vaccines present our best way out of this pandemic.

“Not only do they work, they are also highly effective in preventing infection.”

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