Vaccine passports: Scottish Government has a few hours to ‘prevent a weekend of chaos’

The Scottish Government has just a few hours to ‘prevent a weekend of chaos’ amid problems with the new vaccine passport app, opposition politicians have warned.

Covid Scotand: Vaccine passport experiencing problems hours after launch, users claim

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross described the technical problems surrounding the app as an “omnishambles” and warned that businesses would lose out on thousands of customers, who would not be able to enter their premises.

He called for the government immediately order an “indefinite delay” to their plan and said the First Minister should guarantee compensation to anyone who misses an event or any business who loses income solely because the SNP’s app does not work.

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The app, which launched last night, has been plagued with problems, with users complaining that they cannot register for the passport showing that they have been double vaccinated – which is required to enter nightclubs, or large events from today.

People trying to register on the NHS Scotland Covid Status App as they are being told by the app that ‘something went wrong’, ‘no match found’, or they were ‘unsuccessful’ in registering their details. When these messages pop up, the app informs the user: “We apologise for the inconvenience. Please try again later or contact our support team.”

Mr Ross said: “The SNP Government has just a few hours to act quickly and prevent a weekend of chaos at venues across Scotland. Thousands of people will be at the football and going out to hospitality premises this weekend. At an incredibly challenging time, businesses will lose out if this app is still not working.

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“This plan should really be scrapped altogether but, if the SNP insist on charging ahead, they must indefinitely delay the vaccine passport scheme until the most basic issues are ironed out."

He added: “Nicola Sturgeon must go back to the drawing board. This is becoming an omnishambles – the SNP’s scheme is lurching from one issue to the next, all at the very last minute. Nobody should miss out because of SNP incompetence. The government must guarantee compensation to any person or business who loses out solely because the SNP can’t deliver a working app that’s been in development for months.

“The SNP must order an emergency stop to this policy now, before it hurts businesses and jobs. So far, they have arrogantly ploughed on regardless, against warning after warning from the opposition and business. Why won’t Nicola Sturgeon just accept she’s got this wrong?”

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “The launch of the Covid status app has been a complete shambles. I have already been contacted by several constituents complaining that the app crashed on them.

“It is typical of the SNP to rush this out when it clearly doesn’t work. This is embarrassing for the Scottish Government, they need to get a grip and fix the app urgently.”

Last week, UK Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said that trust is “key to the success” of the passport scheme and said there should be “high standards of governance and accountability to ensure compliance with data protection principles”.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The Information Commissioner’s Office says trust is both necessary and key to the success of this scheme. What little confidence existed crumbled last night. The launch was shambolic. Thousands of attempts to access Covid ID cards hit the buffers.

“I warned that the IT wouldn’t be ready or up to the job when the First Minister first unveiled this SNP/Green assault on medical privacy. The government has had a litany of tech problems during and before this crisis. Once again it can’t even get the basics right.”

He added: “The Information Commissioner should intervene to stop this scheme now.”

The Scottish Government recently outlined that a ‘late night venue’ means it is open between midnight and 5.00am, serves alcohol after midnight, provides live or recorded music for dancing and has a designated space that is used for dancing.

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