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UK to pilot COVID-19 certificates for return of fans to large events

The UK government is considering using COVID-19 certificates to help get fans back to concerts, sports and other large events in “significant numbers”.

UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said today (Friday) the certificates, which would show if someone was vaccinated, are among several initiatives the UK is piloting to enable the mass return of fans this summer.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said it will stage “around a dozen” sporting and cultural events this spring, as part of the Events Research Programme (ERP), which will inform government decisions on stage four of its COVID-19 reopening roadmap.

The events, including the FA Cup final at London’s Wembley and the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield, will provide data into reopening venues in line with the roadmap out of lockdown, which aims to remove all restrictions in England by June 21.

Dowden told Sky Sports: “We’re piloting the different things that will enable that to happen – clearly it will have to be done in a COVID-secure way.

“You would expect, and we will be testing these things, things like one-way systems, things like masks, things like hand hygiene and everything else.

“Another thing that we are considering is a COVID certification, and we will be testing whether we can use COVID certification to help facilitate the return of sports.”

However, he said that final decisions had not yet been made and that he was working with Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, who is leading a review into proposals.

Dowden added: “I hope we will be able to find ways of mitigating against certainly having the sort of social distancing that we have at the moment,” he added. “The sort of social distancing we have at the moment makes it very, very difficult, for example, for theatre productions to be run profitably.

“It makes it very, very difficult for our football clubs to run profitably if you have to have those large distances between people.

“Clearly, we have been in the situation for the past year where we have had to have those distances, so we are proceeding with caution, that’s why it’s the last stage, that’s why we are piloting different ways of mitigating against that.”

Fans return to sport in Malaysia

Sports fans will be able to return to stadiums and arenas in Malaysia from April 1, the National Security Council (NSC) has announced.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said fans will be subject to strict standard operating procedures and the organisation of all tournaments with spectator attendance will be subject to the approval of the Youth and Sports Ministry.

Two Malaysia Football League matches will be allowed under the new ruling as proof of concept to evaluate the effectiveness of the spectator management protocol. Fans can book their tickets online for the two matches.

In Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) zones, only 10 per cent of the stadiums’ spectator capacity or 2,000 people, whichever is less, will be allowed under supervisory control.

Meanwhile in Recovery MCO (RMCO) zones, 25 per cent of the stadiums’ spectator capacity or 8,000 people, whichever is less, will be allowed but under supervisory control.

Tickets will only be sold online and physical distancing of a minimum 1.5 metres between spectators will be enforced.

The announcement follows last week’s news that live events in Malaysia returned after new guidelines were announced. The order included events such as concerts, dance and theatre shows, and musical comedy performances, among others, as well as official government programmes, television programmes and cultural events.