The UK has ditched the introduction of vaccine passports, and is set to announce plans to manage the COVID-19 pandemic during the country’s colder months including to “get rid of” PCR tests for travellers as soon as possible.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will this week set out his plans to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in the winter months, announcing a decision to scrap the introduction of vaccine passports and steps to end some emergency powers.
Johnson, under fire from some in his governing Conservative Party for raising taxes to fix a health and social care crisis, looks set to try to soothe those critics by ditching plans to introduce passports for large events and nightclubs, despite an increasing number of coronavirus cases.
Speaking to broadcasters, Health Minister Sajid Javid said he did not anticipate more lockdowns and that the vaccine passports would not be introduced in England, as the government depends instead on vaccines and testing to defend the public.
“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,” Sajid Javid told Sky News.
The PM told the BBC he was not “anticipating any more lockdowns” but would not take the measure off the table, that the government would not go ahead with vaccine passports to allow people to attend mass events and he wanted to “get rid of” PCR tests for travellers as soon as possible.
Javid added the government would remain “cautious”, but “the vaccine program, our testing program, our surveillance program, the new treatments … this is all our wall of defence and whilst there’s a lot of virus around, it is working”.
Meanwhile, London’s Heathrow airport is calling for all PCR tests to be abolished for fully vaccinated travellers.
Heathrow’s proposals, supported by major airlines and the wider travel and tourism industry, are for the Government to remove the amber list and create a safe but simple two-tier system – a green list and red list, retaining hotel quarantine.
The airport says ministers must recognise the success of the global vaccination programme and move from a country-based approach to a risk-based one, based on individuals’ vaccination status.
Fully vaccinated travellers should not be required to take a test, while those who are not vaccinated should continue to take a pre-departure and arrival test using lateral flow, following up with a PCR test if positive.
Back in Australia, vaccination passports are on track to arrive from next month, as preparations to restart international travel at the end of the year continues.
The federal government is currently working with other countries to determine which vaccines will be recognised.
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