Welsh Government to consider latest data on Omicron variant before any decision on Covid Pass extension

The latest data and information on the Omicron variant will be used before making any decision on extending the Covid Pass in Wales to pubs, restaurants and cafes.

Welsh Government ministers are to consider whether to expand the scheme over the next week and the next Covid rules review takes place on Friday.

Covid passes are needed in Wales for nightclubs, cinemas, concerts, theatres and some events although First Minister Mark Drakeford told Politics Wales that at best he could only claim “it makes that extra marginal difference alongside everything else you do”.

He said he did not think they would be considering extending passes to hospitality if it had only been dealing with the dominant Delta variant.

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Omicron has been blamed for a surge in cases in South Africa and so far one case has been detected in Wales.

Scientists are working to find definitive answers to critical questions on the transmissibility of this new Covid variant and how good is it at evading immunity from previous infection and vaccines.

Sector chiefs have warned of the economic impact if the Covid Pass scheme is extended further into the hospitality sector. This could be further compounded by a last minute decision.

Mark Drakeford told the programme: “We’ve got another week to go. We will learn a lot in that week about the Omicron virus.

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“If we were to do it, it would simply be to help those businesses to stay open and still attracting customers through the door because people would feel confident that everybody else in that setting were either vaccinated or had taken a lateral flow test.

“But we haven’t made that decision, and we won’t make that decision right up until the day we have to, because circumstances and knowledge are developing so fast around the new variant that you ought to wait to have the maximum amount of information that you can.”