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COVID certification and mask wearing requirements to end

The First Minister has announced today that the legal requirements for COVID-19 certification and wearing face coverings will be withdrawn.

Giving an update to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, Nicola Sturgeon presented an indicative timetable for converting legal restrictions to guidance.

As of next Monday, February 28, the COVID certification scheme, requiring some venues to check vaccine or test status, will come to an end.

As of March 21, the government hopes that the legal requirement to wear face coverings in certain indoor setting and on public transport will become guidance. Businesses and service providers will also no longer have to retain customer contact details.

The news came after the First Minister explained the revised strategic approach to the pandemic. This involves a transition from trying to eliminate or suppress the virus to a managing it “primarily through adaptions and health measures that strengthen our resilience and recovery.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “The new approach will see us resort much less, and hopefully not at all, to legally imposed protective measures. Instead we will rely predominately on vaccines, treatments, and sensible public health behaviours and adaptations.”

While she said the vaccination programme’s success exceeded expectations, there are more than 600,000 over 18s in Scotland who had a second dose, but not a third or booster.

Linked to this is the plan to extend the scope of vaccination to include 5–11-year-olds, with appointments being issued for this group from mid-March.

On Monday, the government also accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that those most at risk will receive an additional booster six months after their last jag. Appointments for this will also start in March.

More to follow.