U.K. ditches plans for COVID-19 vaccine passports at crowded venues in England
The Associated Press · Posted: Sep 12, 2021 8:28 AM ET | Last Updated: 25 minutes ago
Concert-goers enjoy the music in Liverpool, northwest England, on May 2. U.K. authorities have decided not to require COVID-19 vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs and other crowded events in England, Britain’s health secretary said Sunday. (Paul Ellis/AFPGetty Images)
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In Europe, authorities in Britain have decided not to require vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs and other crowded events in England, Britain’s health secretary said Sunday, reversing course amid opposition from some of the Conservative government’s supporters in Parliament.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government has shelved the idea of vaccine passports for now but could reconsider the decision if COVID-19 cases rise exponentially once again.
“We’ve looked at it properly, and whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports,” Javid told the BBC.
The U-turn came just days after both the government’s vaccines minister and the culture secretary suggested that vaccine passports would still be necessary, despite growing opposition from lawmakers.
Demonstrators protesting lockdowns and COVID-19 vaccination passports march in London on April 24. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)
In particular, members of the governing Conservative Party have objected to such passports as an unacceptable burden on businesses and an infringement on residents’ human rights.
The idea of requiring people to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for COVID-19 has been uncomfortable for many in Britain, where people generally aren’t required to carry identification documents.
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Other European nations are using similar documents showing people’s vaccination status as a way to reopen society — although the rules vary widely. Each of Germany’s 16 states has slightly different rules on what is required, but in general, people are required to show a negative test, vaccine or recovery certificate before being allowed to participate in indoor dining, drinking or dancing.
Passes are required in France when frequenting bars, cafés, restaurants, museums and other places where the public gathers and for long-distance travel on buses, trains and planes. In Italy, where discos have not reopened since the start of the pandemic, so-called Green Passes are required to dine indoors, attend a concert or for domestic travel by trains, buses, planes or ferries, although local transport is exempt.
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A woman wearing a face mask walks past a COVID-19 rapid testing business in Montreal on Sunday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)
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What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday, more than 224.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 case tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at 4.6 million.
Students attend a class in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Sept.12, 2021. (Mahmud Hossain Opu/The Associated Press)
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In Asia, Bangladesh has reopened schools and other educational institutions after 543 days of closure as its virus situation eases and more people are vaccinated. Authorities decided to reopen after almost 97 per cent of the country’s teachers and staff have been vaccinated, the government says.
In the Americas, Los Angeles County school officials ordered vaccinations for all students aged 12 and over, becoming the largest school district in the United States to take that step. School board members voted unanimously to mandate the shots in the coming weeks, despite angry objections from several parents.
In Africa, schools in Egypt are scheduled to resume in-person classes next week, but rising cases are alarming authorities. Daily cases in the country — the Arab world’s most populous with 100 million people — have been spiking in recent weeks since the more contagious delta variant was detected in the country in July.