A waiter checks customers' Covid passports in Catalonia this week. / EFE

Andalucía asks court to approve extension of Covid passports to food and drink premises

The Junta confirmed on Thursday the first three cases of the Omicron variant and four more cases under investigation in the region

SUR MALAGA.

The Junta de Andalucía decided on Thursday this week to ask the regional Supreme Court to extend the requirement for people to show a so-called Covid passport in order to enter bars, restaurants and nightclubs. It followed a meeting of the regional committee of experts.

The introduction, if approved by the top court, would mean customers need to show they were fully vaccinated - or had taken a negative PCR test 72 hours before or lateral flow test 48 hours before - in order to enter the premises. The Covid passports, which include a scannable QR code, can be managed and downloaded on the regional health service's ClicSalud+ phone app or printed from its website or in a person's health centre.

The Andalusian government was known to be in favour of the move earlier this week. Jesús Aguirre, regional minister for Health, said it would be introduced, "as soon as possible and until 15 January".

Also in favour was the local hospitality industry, which sees having to ask drinkers and diners for their vaccination or test status as the lesser of two evil when compared to having to close venues over the peak Christmas season.

Andalucía therefore looks likely to join other regions of Spain, such Catalonia and the Valencian region, in insisting legally on the Covid passports .

The Covid passport is already required in Andalucía from this week in residential homes and health service buildings.

Local case rates

Despite Andalucía's caution and rising cases locally, the region still had one of the lowest Covid-19 rates in Spain this week.

On Thursday (9 December), the number of cases per 100,000 of the population in the last 14 days across the region was 136, up from 112 a week earlier. This compared to a Spain-wide figure of 306.

The figure in Malaga province, including the Costa del Sol was 165, up from 124 a week earlier.

On Thursday, the Junta confirmed three first cases of the Omicron variant in Andalucía and four more cases under investigation.