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Boris Johnson gives the green light to the Covid passport program to reopen Britain | Politics | News




Vaccine passports: expert warns against public “ pushback ”

The prime minister, who used his Easter message to promise “brighter days”, brushed aside warnings from backbenchers by giving the project the green light. A Liverpool comedy club will be the first to test the system next week. It will then be used at a few more important events, including the FA Cup final and the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

Pubs, restaurants and businesses won’t need passports at this time, and the government says some areas, including essential stores and public transport, will remain exempt. But the program is likely to be rolled out further, with officials suggesting it could help see an end to social distancing.

Those who attend the events tested will need a Covid certificate which will show that they have been vaccinated or have had the virus in the past and therefore have natural immunity.

A recent negative test will also appear on the certificate and allow entry.

The certificate can be viewed on a phone, but the NHS is working on non-digital alternatives.

The government is also in talks with the organizers of the Brit Awards, scheduled for May 11, so that it can eventually become an event used as part of the program.

The evidence will be reviewed after the events to assess the risks of transmission in different settings.

Mr Johnson said: ‘We have made tremendous progress over the past few months with our vaccination program and everyone in the country has made huge sacrifices to get us to this point in our recovery from Covid-19 .

Vaccine passport

The vaccine passport program will be used at a handful of major events, including the FA Cup final. (Image: PA)

“We are doing everything we can to allow our country to reopen so that people can return to the events, travel and other things they love as safely as possible – and these reviews will play an important role. to allow that to happen. ”

The plan to move forward with vaccine passports comes amid the threat of a major rebellion in parliament over the issue, with 40 Tory MPs joining an all-party group of 70 in signing a letter opposing the idea .

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer also called the proposal “non-British” and raised concerns over personal freedom, saying his party could join the rebels in opposing the project.

In an effort to quell the rebellion, it was stated that the program would be in place for less than 12 months.

But a Downing Street source declined to confirm the delay, saying: “This is pure speculation. We just don’t know yet.

Boris Johnson

Prime Minister brushed aside warnings from backbenchers by giving the project the green light (Image: Getty)

Amid fears that passports could create Checkpoint Britain, a number of Tory MPs have made it clear they will join opposition parties in opposing it.

Sir Graham Brady, who chairs the powerful 1922 committee of Conservative backbenchers and who supported the Sunday Express’s Protect Our Freedoms campaign, said: ‘With high levels of immunization protecting people vulnerable and making transmission less likely, we should aim for a return to normalcy. life, not to set up permanent restrictions.

Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, warned: ‘Vaccine passports would be divisive, effectively creating a subclass of people who are not vaccinated, many of whom will not be vaccinated for medical reasons.

“This is a major violation of civil liberties.”

He also warned: “Parliament must be vigilant. The reason they are not talking about pubs and shops at the moment is because they know they will not take them through Parliament.

“We have to make sure this isn’t the end of a very bossy corner.”

Former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron also criticized the idea of ​​vaccine passports, saying: “What we have is a government that talks a lot about freedom – that’s at the heart of its narrative.


The number of people who received their second dose exceeded five million (Image: Getty)

“But as soon as the rubber hits the road, they are neither liberals nor libertarians. They are authoritarian in their instincts.

The Institute of Economics think tank has warned that the passports are part of a package that threatens to turn Public Health England into the “Office of Health Coercion.”

The passport system is one of a series of ongoing reviews aimed at lifting the current restrictions.

A social distancing review will consider the “safest approach” to allow closer contact between friends and families.

It will also look at ways to increase transport capacity and reduce distancing requirements at work.

It is understood that the outcome of the Covid certificate testing could impact changes in social distancing regulations. The government has also confirmed that it will continue to implement the traffic light system for overseas travel.

International travel will not be permitted until May 17th at the earliest.


Experts have warned that the risks associated with the AstraZeneca jab are tiny (Image: Getty)

When the ‘Stay in UK’ message is removed, countries will be assigned a red, orange or green rating, depending on how they have handled the pandemic.

There will be no isolation requirement for travel from countries in the new green box, although pre-departure and post-arrival testing is still required.

The “red” and “orange” restrictions would remain as they are now, with the obligation to enter quarantine or self-isolation upon return.

In his Easter message, Mr Johnson praised the work of Christians during the pandemic and acknowledged that the past 12 months have been “very difficult times”.

But he added: “As always, the arrival of Easter brings new hope and, this year more than ever, it brings the promise of better days for all of us.”

His optimistic tone came as the number of people who received their second dose exceeded five million.

The Prime Minister confirmed: “We have taken another important step in our vaccination program with more than five million people who have now had their second vaccine.

“I urge everyone to take their second dose as soon as they are offered it.”

The number of people receiving their second dose reached 5,205,505 or 9.9% of all adults, while 31,425,682 – 59.9% of adults – received their first dose.

There were 10 more deaths, the lowest since September 10, and 3,423 new cases reported yesterday.

Although there have been other warnings linking AstraZeneca jab to rare blood clots, experts have suggested that the risks are “tiny” and that the vaccine remains safe.

Public health expert Professor Linda Bauld of the University of Edinburgh said there was no evidence that jab adoption was slowing down. She said, “The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency continues to say that there is nothing to worry about and that is absolutely the message to people. It doesn’t seem from the behavioral response and surveys I’ve seen that this affects adoption in the UK – and it really does matter.

Dr Chris Smith, a consultant virologist at the University of Cambridge, added that the risk of clots forming is around one in 2.5 million and that the risks of side effects were not greater than the risks. other vaccines such as influenza or polio.

He said: “It is much better to have the vaccine than to catch a coronavirus.”

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