NICOLA Sturgeon has outlined further details of how Scotland "Covid passports" will work.

The First Minister was speaking at Holyrood when she made the announcement about the scheme, which is due to start at 5am on Friday, October 1.

She told MSPs that the scheme would not apply to anybody under the age of 18, to those who took part in vaccine trials, to the small number of people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, or to the performers or staff at a venue where they work. 

Sturgeon also outlined the government definiton of a "nightclub", where vaccine passports will be needed.

She said a nightclub is defined as something which is open between midnight and 5am, serves alcohol after midnight, has live or recorded music for dancing, and a specific area for the same.

If a venue falls under this definition of a nightclub, it will not be expected to ask for vaccine passports if they only come in for a "pub lunch". Sturgeon said much of the implementation of the scheme would come down to "common sense".

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She went on: "In terms of other practicalities the NHS Covid Status app will be available for download from September 30.

"The app will provide a digital record of a user's vaccination status, including a QR code for each vaccination a person has received.

"Each of us can already request a paper copy of our vaccination record, with specific features to prevent it being forged."

The NHS Scotland Covid check app that venues can use is already available for download, the First Minister added.

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As well as nightclubs, vaccine passports will be needed for any indoor seated event of more than 500 people, any outdoor unseated event above 4000, and any event above 10,000.

For smaller events, the government expects venues to check the certification of all in attendance. For larger events, they will ask venues to carry out a number of checks which is "both reasonable and effective", with experts to provide further guidance on this in future.

She said the overall operation of the Covid passport scheme will be kept "under review", with changes implemented with experience.

The First Minister also said there were "real concerns" around plans to end compulsory testing for Covid-19 for people arriving in the country from abroad as has been done in England.

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Although she said a four-nations approach was desirable, she said a decision had not yet been taken but would be confirmed "in the next day or so".

Sturgeon also said that new Covid cases had fallen by more than 10% across all age groups over the past week, with the steepest fall in cases being seen in the 20-24 age group.

However, she said there was every possibility cases would rise again heading into winter, especially as the impact of the return of students to university has likely not yet been felt.

The First Minister also confirmed statistics released by the government earlier in the afternoon.

She said that 18 further deaths of coronavirus patients were recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total among people who tested positive in the previous 28 days to 8396.

A further 2870 cases have also been recorded, with a positivity rate of 11.7%.

However, Public Health Scotland (PHS) says the Borders health board has not submitted lab files since 1pm on Monday. An investigation has been launched.

A similar issue in the Grampian region has now been resolved. “All files from NHS Grampian Lab have been received and processed and are included in today’s figures,” PHS said.

Some 1107 people were in hospital in the past 24 hours with recently confirmed Covid. Of those, 94 were in intensive care.

A total of 4,160,835 people have received their first dose of a vaccination and 3,813,547 have received their second dose.