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Covid-19 certificate scheme: lateral flow results must be registered on official government system


Owner of Bittles Bar John Bittles checks Mathew Simm’s passport at the Belfast City Centre pub

Owner of Bittles Bar John Bittles checks Mathew Simm’s passport at the Belfast City Centre pub

Owner of Bittles Bar John Bittles checks Mathew Simm’s passport at the Belfast City Centre pub

Results from lateral flow tests will have to be registered with the official government system to be eligible for inclusion in Northern Ireland’s Covid certificate scheme.

Members of the public will be expected to show notification of the negative test result before being allowed into premises where Covid passports are required.

Anyone who does not have access to the digital system will be expected to undergo a lateral flow test (LFT) on site but the decision on whether to offer this facility will be left to individual businesses.

Customers will also have to demonstrate vaccination status, or recent negative LFT or Covid-19 infection before they enter premises, as opposed to at a till or once seated, it has emerged.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

Meanwhile, staff working in businesses where Covid certificates are required to gain access will not have to show vaccination status.

NHS officials appeared in front of the Stormont health committee on Thursday morning to explain how the controversial Covid-19 passport scheme will work here.

The Department of Health’s head of health protection, Elaine Colgan, was asked why the system is not yet ready for use after explaining procedures are being reviewed and updated as concerns arise.

She said: “We were aiming for having this ready early mid-December so that would have given us an extra week or two to work through the issues.

“I think we were probably caught a little off guard on how quickly this was required, if I’m honest, and that is really the crux of it.

“It’s not that we weren’t working on it, we were, and with another couple of weeks we probably would have been there much better than we were on Monday.”

Explaining how LFTs will be used in order to prevent abuse of the system, Ms Colgan said people will be expected to log results on the NHS system – but this only allows a person to register a test taken on the same or previous day.

“When you report the result, it will ask if you want to receive a notification…if you are taking to get into somewhere, you will need to click ‘yes’.”

Electronic notification will then be sent by phone or email which can be used under the certification scheme.

The committee was told police will lead on enforcement and will visit premises to ensure businesses are adhering to the use of Covid certification.

However, enforcement will not come into force and no fixed penalties will be issued until the end of the grace period on December 13.

Earlier Health Minister Robin Swann rejected a claim made by the First Minister that Covid certificates were not based on evidence.

The UUP minister said: “It’s not just about vaccination, it’s the negative lateral flow or negative PCR…I am aware there are antivaxxers trying to latch onto this to try to prove their point.

“The scientific evidence, as we said about the reduction of spread for those who have been vaccinated or previously infected, there is a reduction in spread.

“There is also for those who are vaccinated less chance of serious infection should they be infected.”

It comes as the Department of Health revealed 90% of the adult population has now had at least one dose of Covid vaccine.

In total, 3,068,005 jabs have been delivered since the vaccination programme began just under a year ago.

On Thursday, 2,272 Covid-19 cases and two deaths linked to the virus were recorded in Northern Ireland.

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