Denmark and Sweden join Norway in waiting before restarting AstraZeneca vaccine

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden leaves 10 Downing Street on March 17, in London, England. Hollie Adams/Getty Images

The UK is considering the use of “Covid certificates” to allow people to attend live events such as sports fixtures, its Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said on Friday. 

Dowden told Sky News the UK government will “be testing whether we can use Covid certification to help facilitate the return of sports.” 

The plan bears some resemblance to rumoured vaccine passports, a concept that has been ruled out by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but would also allow unvaccinated people to attend venues after receiving a negative test result.

According to Dowden, the certificates could be used “to prove, for example, that you’ve had a vaccine or that you’ve had a successful negative test,” adding “that may be one of the things that could help ensure that we can get more people back into the stadium.”

The UK will be using several high-profile sporting and cultural events as “pilot events” to test a return of crowds, including the FA Cup final on May 15.

During these pilot events the UK will be “looking at how we can ensure an indoor and outdoor setting, how we can get as many people back as we possibly can and get back to the things we really love as a nation,” Dowden said.

The government will also analyze the impact of “one-way systems, things like masks, things like hand hygiene,” with Cabinet minister Michael Gove tasked with overseeing the Covid certification work program.

“(We’re) working with many, many people to see how we can get people back safely in large numbers, because if we don’t manage to do it this summer… I’m really worried about the future of those industries that are so vital not just to our sense of national wellbeing, but to the whole national economy.”

Under the UK’s government roadmap out of lockdown, large scale live events are slated for return on June 21 at the earliest, with Dowden saying it is his “number one mission” for that plan to go ahead.