Drakeford considering making it illegal to report false negative test to get a Covid pass
The First Minister has said that he is considering making it an offence to falsely report a negative Covid test, after announcing the roll-out of Covid passes to enter particular ‘high risk’ events.
Mark Drakeford that the Covid pass was not a Covid passport because it did not require vaccination, and you could get one by reporting a negative Covid test.
Asked whether that would make it easy for people to falsely report a negative test, he said that one step under consideration was to make it an offence to do so, as it was to give false information to track and trace staff.
He added that they would not be moving towards Covid passports that required vaccination yet because it “raises a series of technical, legal and ethical questions”.
“I am always acutely aware of the Covid liberty implications of everything we do,” he said. “We want to prevent other restrictions on people’s lives.”
He also said they were waiting until 11 October to enforce Covid passes give the hospitality sector time to prepare. “Many high risk venues already use Covid passes and they can carry on with using it now,” he said.
He said that nightclubs were “inherently and intrinsically” higher risk than some other venues.
“The reason we are doing it is to avoid taking more intrusive measures to deal with coronavirus,” he said. “These are examples of measures that Sage calls ‘low-cost interventions’. They will avoid tougher measures later on.”
Speaking at today’s press conference, Mark Drakeford said that five things were needed to keep Wales at alert level 0:
- Introduce a Covid pass from 11 October
- Booster vaccines for over 50s, health workers and the vulnerable after six months
- Vaccines for 12-15-year-olds
- Working from home if you don’t need to be in the office
- Wearing face masks in shops and public transport
Letters will start to be issued to 12-15-year-olds from the start of next week, with vaccinations starting from the 4th of October onwards.
Mark Drakeford also added that everything is in place for the armed forces to come in and help the Welsh NHS if the situation does deteriorate.
He was speaking after the Scottish government officially requested support from the military to deal with pressure in the ambulance service that has extended waiting times.
Mark Drakeford said that the pressure on the NHS from the Covid pandemic did not require the army’s help at the moment but that was a possibility over autumn and winter.
“If we need to ask the army for more help, everything is in place for that to happen,” he said.
“We’ve had very regular help from the armed forces during the pandemic. Those lines of communication are always open.
“In some parts of Wales some health boards have always had to pull back from some planned surgery but that is a temporary measure. But it’s going to be a difficult and continuing balancing act through the winter.”