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Covid passport trials to begin this month

The Covid passport trials are to begin this month at a series of pilot events.

Football cup finals, the World Snooker Championship, a comedy club and a cinema will be used to test vaccine passports over the next few weeks, as the government unveils its route out of lockdown.

The pilot venues will be unveiled on Monday by the prime minister, Boris Johnson, with the NHS drawing up a system that will allow people to use an app or a paper certificate to gain access to major events and reduce social distancing measures.

However, with details of the certificate system still being finalised, Johnson continues to face a mounting political backlash over the use of vaccine passports in the UK. Some MPs are examining whether they could force a vote on the issue. On Monday, Johnson will reassure people that the passports should not be used on public transport or essential shops.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We have made huge strides over the past few months with our vaccine programme and everyone in the country has made huge sacrifices to get us to this stage in our recovery from Covid-19.

“We are doing everything we can to enable the reopening of our country so people can return to the events, travel and other things they love as safely as possible.”

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Senior Tories join Jeremy Corbyn to oppose Covid passports ahead of trials

More than 70 MPs including 40 Conservatives, the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat members have forged a parliamentary alliance to oppose Covid identity documents.

An interim report on the measure is due to be published on Monday but a pilot event is already planned for 18 April with residents near Wembley invited to apply for 4,000 tickets to the FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton.

The first pilot event will be a comedy night in Liverpool on 16 April where audience members will be tested for Covid before and after the show, according to BBC News.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said certification for international travel will be an “inevitability”, and it could also be a “valuable aid” in reopening parts of the domestic economy faster.

Mr Gove, who is leading the review into the use of Covid passports, said: “Unless the government takes a lead we risk others establishing the rules of the road. So where should the lines be drawn to help protect freedoms, respect privacy, promote equality and get us back to normality?”

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