Breaking news: UK government drops Covid passport
In the UK, Health Minister Sajid Javid has told the BBC that Covid passports will not be introduced in his country. When will European countries come to their senses?
Published: September 13, 2021, 10:27 am
In Great Britain, the planned introduction of a health or green passport has been canceled. This is what British Health Minister Sajid Javid said in an interview with the BBC : “I never liked the idea of saying to people, ‘Show your papers’ or anything, to do something that is just an everyday activity. I am happy to say that we are not pursuing this any further.”
The introduction of the pass and the associated “3G rules” were planned for the end of the month. The 3G rule (short for German geimpft, getestet, genesen – vaccinated, tested, recovered) is used to define “low-risk groups” in epidemiological terms. The pass is designed to confirm that an individual is tested, vaccinated or has recovered from Covid-19. In Vienna, for example, everyone over six years of age must comply with the 3G rule.
British members of the ruling parliamentary group had spoken out against the health pass, as well as individual members of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats. The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) trade body in particular had also opposed it. On the one hand, because it feared massive business losses, and on the other, because it feared discrimination lawsuits.
Only days ago the government’s vaccines minister and the culture secretary suggested that vaccine passports would be indispensable. The government had obtained sweeping emergency powers in March 2020, with the introduction of the Coronavirus Act, and could easily push through any measure, but had to face growing opposition from several key politicians.
The anti-discrimination laws in Great Britain are much stricter than in many European countries, including Germany. For example, homophobic statements immediately lead to police operations and can be punished with a prison sentence. Even if a regulation in the UK had allowed de facto discrimination against unvaccinated people by locking them out of clubs, it could have resulted in a police operation and criminal proceedings. So the club owners had protested with good reason.
When asked whether the government had given in to its own backbenchers, Javid replied that the passport was not needed because the “defense wall” against Covid was high enough, also due to new treatment methods. Javid said he was not “anticipating any more lockdowns”, but would not take the measure off the table.
Javid announced that Prime Minister Boris Johnson would follow up with further easing later this week. Johnson meanwhile said in a statement that he was “determined to get rid of any powers we no longer need because of our vaccine defences”.
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