The Welsh Government has today admitted it does not have any empirical evidence that its COVID pass scheme has reduced transmission of COVID-19 at large-scale events and nightclubs since it was introduced on 11 October.
In response to a written question by the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds, Health Minister Eluned Morgan responded that:
“It is too early to evaluate the effectiveness of the covid pass, as the new system has only been in place for less than a month. However, we have received positive feedback from stakeholders and from people using the pass as it has given them the confidence to attend venues and events, knowing everyone else is either fully vaccinated or has had a very recent negative test result.”
Commenting on the response by the Health Minster Jane Dodds stated:
“What the response from the Health Minister shows today is that the Welsh Government does not have any empirical evidence to show that the introduction of covid passes is helping to reduce case numbers.
“When introducing legislation that has such a direct impact on people’s civil liberties it is vital that the policy is backed by hard evidence.
“I and the Welsh Liberal Democrats are not opposed to taking action to reduce the harm posed by COVID-19, but that action must be proportional and based an evidence-based strategy that has a clear outcome.
“When we not only have no evidence that the policy in hand works, but also leaked evidence from the UK Government that Covid-passes may actually be counterproductive and increase case numbers by forcing people into smaller, less ventilated spaces, it begins to set off alarm bells.
“Despite the lack of evidence outlined above, the Welsh Government, with the support of Plaid Cymru has chosen to hit even more businesses with COVID passes while also choosing not to provide them with any financial support to deal with the burden of enforcing the scheme.
“The Minister’s response to my question today also shows that no new evidence has come to light that was not available during the first vote on Covid passes, making Plaid Cymru’s U-turn on its position all the more confusing. Bad law should be scrutinized not supported merely because it is politically convenient.
“Finally, this policy has been introduced without sufficient evidence, the Welsh Government has also failed to outline the parameters that will bring the policy to an end. When will covid passes be removed? If the Government is to continue with this policy it urgently needs to set a fixed date or other goalposts that will signify an end to the policy.”