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Boris Johnson faces battle over vaccine passports

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Boris Johnson faces a battle over plans to introduce vaccine passports for people to demonstrate their vaccination status against the Covid-19 coronavirus before going to events.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said today that certification of vaccination against the Covid-19 coronavirus will not be required when pubs and restaurants reopen outdoors next week – or when they reopen in the ‘interior in May

But a government review of Covid status certification found they could potentially play a role in settings such as theaters, nightclubs and mass events, and could also be used in pubs and restaurants to reduce social distancing restrictions.

The potential use of certificates that would include vaccine status, test results or proof of someone who contracted and recovered from Covid-19 is contested by at least 40 Tory MPs and Labor is also skeptical of the measure .

The dispute over vaccine passports came as government science advisers warned that further steps along the roadmap to facilitate England’s lockdown could lead to a new wave of coronavirus cases.

The next step in the process, April 12, will see the reopening of non-essential stores, beer gardens and hairdressers among businesses.

The minutes of a March 31 meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) showed that modeling suggested that the measures could only lead to a modest increase in hospitalizations and deaths and that there was little likely they are putting pressure on the NHS.

But advisers have warned that changes planned for May and June, when indoor social mixing is expected to be allowed again, could lead to increased hospital admissions to levels seen during the January peak, according to scenarios based on pessimistic but plausible assumptions about the effectiveness of vaccines. .

Covid Status Certificates are being reviewed by a panel led by Cabinet Minister Michael Gove to help get society back to normal while minimizing the risk of a new wave of cases.

The prime minister stressed that the government has not finalized any plans, but ministers fear that if there is no official certificate, companies could require customers to demonstrate if they have had anyway. a vaccine or a test.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has acknowledged that the use of coronavirus certificates at the national level raises difficult ethical questions.

He told Times Radio: We haven’t even gotten to the point where we have decided what we want to do about it nationally, because there are so many issues that need careful consideration.

Michael Gove is consulting all stakeholders, including parliamentarians, so we’re not there yet.

But the Prime Minister has made it very clear that if we get to this place, of course we will go to Parliament for a vote.

Any vote could be close, given the scale of Tory opposition and workers’ reservations about the policy which Sir Keir Starmer said would run counter to British instinct.

Phantom Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth told BBC Breakfast Labor was very skeptical and wanted more details on how they would work.

Provisional findings from the governments review indicated that public transport and essential stores would not require vaccine passports.

But Mr Ashworth said: I will not support a policy that here in my constituency of Leicester if someone wants to get into Next or H&M they have to produce a vaccination certificate on their phone, on an app.

I think it is discriminatory.

He said it made sense to ask people to take a test before going to events such as football games, we don’t think that asking you to produce a vaccination passport, which is this card. digital identity, is right.

It is discriminatory, he said.

The plan faces opposition from MPs ranging from ex-Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn to chairman of the powerful 1922 Conservative backbench committee Sir Graham Brady.

Lockdown-skeptic Senior Tory Mark Harper, President of the Covid Recovery Group, has warned that certification of Covid status will lead to a two-speed Britain.

Covid Status Certificates will not be introduced until later in the year, as England follows Mr Johnsons’ roadmap, which could see restrictions largely lifted by the end of June.

An article by modeling experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said their projections suggested the fourth stage was set for June 21, while remaining restrictions set to be lifted could lead to a larger increase in cases and death comparable to that observed during the first wave.

They warned that their findings were preliminary and made pessimistic assumptions about the subsequent stages of the roadmap.

But scientists at the University of Warwick also shared a similar conclusion that a separate third wave of infection is occurring due to the current rate of planned unlocking, with hospital admissions peaking between late July and August. mid August.



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