Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe / Bloomberg
Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe / Bloomberg
Everyone in the UK will be urged to test for the coronavirus twice a week as the new Covid passport system is assessed for widespread use following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to resume the economy after the blockade.
Free test kits will be available through local pharmacies, community centers, and courier services, where the new scheme takes effect on April 9.
With the majority of the adult population now vaccinated, the government believes that rapid testing of the entire population and the Covid status certification system will help control the epidemic as restrictions are eased.
Johnson will set the details late Monday ahead of the next step of lifting restrictions for businesses and citizens scheduled for April 12th.
In a statement released in his office, Johnson said, “The people of the UK have made tremendous efforts to stop the spread of the virus. “As we continue to improve our anti-virus program and move forward with our roadmap to carefully alleviate restrictions, regular rapid testing is even more important to ensure that these efforts are not wasted.”
The UK suffered the most deaths in Europe from the epidemic and is still suffering from the most severe recession in 300 years.
The vaccination program, which quickly outpaced the rest of Europe, has so far received at least one injection of 31.5 million people and is in a good position to resume the UK even with neighboring countries such as France being shut down again.
According to Johnson’s plan:
Travel abroad can resume as early as May 17th with a new “traffic light” system that codes the country in red, amber or green depending on the pandemic risk. The risk rating will take into account the country’s vaccination program, infection rate, virus strain and sequencing capacity. If you’re arriving from the green country to the UK, you don’t need to separate, but you need to be tested before departure and after arrival. The quarantine and quarantine rules apply to passengers entering the country from places listed in red and amber. The Covid Status Verification System (primarily referred to as Covid Passport) will be developed over the next few months to allow for dangerous places such as: Sports events, nightclubs, and theaters to resume Covid certificates, held either paper-based or via a smartphone app, will be tested at large events, including top football matches and other sporting events in the coming weeks. Bars, shops and restaurants do not need to use authentication to resume. The review of social distancing will take into account when families can hug each other again and whether distancing guidelines may be lifted in the Covid passport.
Many of the measures included in Johnson’s plan must pass a vote in Congress. Johnson is likely confronting calls from his Conservative party colleagues to lift the blockade sooner, and more than 70 lawmakers have launched a campaign against vaccination passports, citing concerns about free erosion.
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