British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday he did not expect the country to see any more lockdowns to fight the COVID-19 crisis and ruled out the use of vaccine passports to allow people to gather in crowded venues such as nightclubs.
“I am not anticipating any more lockdowns. I think it would be irresponsible for any health minister around the world to take everything off the table, but I just don’t see how we get to another lockdown,” he told The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC.
Asked about so-called COVID-19 passports, Javid added: “What I can say is that we’ve looked at it properly, and whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I am pleased to say we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”
Festival-goers attend the TRNSMT Festival on Glasgow Green in the centre of Glasgow on Saturday, the second day of the three-day festival. Last year’s festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out plans this week to manage the pandemic over the colder months, Javid told Sky News on Sunday, suggesting the British government could remove some restrictions by relying on vaccines.
“Now that we’re entering autumn and winter … the prime minister this week will be setting out our plans to manage COVID over the coming few months, and in that we will be making it clear that our vaccine program is working,” he said.
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The U-turn came just days after the government’s vaccines minister and the culture secretary suggested that vaccine passports would still be necessary, despite growing opposition from legislators. Such passports are required in other European countries, such as France.
Javid also said he was looking into getting rid of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for travellers returning to the U.K. from certain countries, ”as soon as I possibly can.”
Since July, the government has relaxed some rules for people returning to the country from abroad, but expensive COVID-19 tests for many destinations remain in place.
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