The UK has decided it will no longer introduce a vaccine passport, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson sets out his plans to tackle COVID-19 during autumn and winter.
Health Secretary for the UK, Sajid Javid, told BBC News that plans to introduce a vaccine certificate for entry to nightclubs and large events would now be kept “in reserve” in case they are needed during the colder months.
The plan was set to be introduced at the end of September and would require people to prove they are fully vaccinated, had recently returned a negative PCR test or had finished isolating after testing positive to gain entry to crowded events.
Many other European countries have a similar system in place; however, Javid said the UK shouldn’t be introducing a measure just because other countries are doing so.
The Health Secretary said he did not like the idea of asking people to “show your papers” to “do what is just an everyday activity”.
ABC News reported that Johnson has been in hot water with the Conservative Party over the plan, with critics saying the measure was an infringement on human rights.
Despite the success of the UK’s vaccine program, the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage Advisory) revealed next month could see 2,000 and 7,000 hospitalisations a day, with cases, hospitalisations and deaths now higher than a year ago, according to The Guardian.
On Wednesday, Johnson outlined the government’s plan to manage COVID-19 throughout the colder months, which he said would pose “renewed challenges”.
The British Prime Minister also said he would repeal some of the powers given to the government to help manage the pandemic, including its ability to close down businesses and schools, restrict entry to events and detain infectious people.
Instead, the plan is to continue vaccination efforts, roll out booster shots for vulnerable groups, bolster public health, continue its test, trace and isolate program, and offer public guidance on how to limit infection.
It will also see the UK’s “tough border policy” remain in place.
Should the government need help to control transmission, a ‘Plan B’ will be introduced that would make face coverings mandatory in public places, require people to present proof of vaccination in “certain, riskier settings” and, if necessary, asking people to work from home.
Johnson stressed that Plan B could be avoided if the public continue their efforts to stay safe and get vaccinated.