Finally, some good news! The Government is expected to announce that vaccine passports will not be required at mass gatherings from next month and says that we should learn to “live with Covid”. The good news, however, ends there, as venues will be told that they can run their own certification schemes. Plus, vaccine passports could be back on the cards this winter when an inevitable new variant becomes the latest cause of concern. The Mail has the story.
Ministers are set to shelve plans for the mandatory use of ‘Covid certification’ after Freedom Day on July 19th. Plans for pubs and restaurants had already been put on the backburner following a backlash from MPs and the hospitality sector.
The Mail can now reveal that ministers have also dropped the idea of imposing them on mass events. Organisers will, however, be permitted to run their own schemes, with the Premier League among those expected to introduce some form of certification to prove those attending football grounds do not pose a Covid risk. …[Boris Johnson] told the Cabinet yesterday that our vaccination success means Britain will be able to “live with Covid” because the link between virus cases and hospitalisations has been broken. …
“We need to get used to the idea of treating Covid more like flu,” [a Government] source said. “People have the flu vaccine, which helps reduce serious illness, but we still get large numbers of cases and significant numbers of deaths.
“When we get to July 19th, cases look like they will be potentially very high, perhaps as many as 30,000 or 40,000 per day. But that is not in itself a reason not to go ahead, provided hospitalisations and deaths remain at relatively low levels.” …
A Downing Street spokesman said: “Cabinet agreed that once we have completed the roadmap, we will be able to live with Covid in the future – even if cases continue to rise – thanks to the protections provided by the vaccine.”
In what appeared to be a coordinated series of interventions, Michael Gove said people will have to live with Covid in “the way that we live with flu”, which claims thousands of deaths each winter but does not require society and the economy to be locked down. …
Whitehall sources told the Mail that [vaccine passports] will be shelved for domestic use, despite ongoing trials at Wimbledon and Wembley. Pilot schemes have controlled access to mass events by requiring those in attendance to supply proof that they have been vaccinated or tested for Covid.
Ministers now believe that the success of our vaccination programme means such measures will not be required across Britain this summer, avoiding another potential clash with MPs.
“It is looking unlikely that we will have to make Covid certification compulsory, even for mass events,” a source said.
“It will be needed for foreign travel and some events may choose to run their own schemes, but it does not look like we will need legislation at this stage.
“The work has not been wasted. It will be needed for travel and we will have a system in place which could be used if we need it in the winter.” Indeed, plans for widespread use of the passports could be revived in the event of another major wave of Covid. This would allow venues to stay open even if cases soar dramatically. Number 10 said the PM was “increasingly confident” there would be no need for further delays to lifting curbs on our freedoms.
Worth reading full.