Covid passport trials begin with live comedy night

Dates revealed for UK’s first ‘vaccine passport’ events

Dates revealed for UK’s first ‘vaccine passport’ events

Jon Craig::



Boris Johnson is poised to announce some Easter Monday good news, with home and away lockdown-easing moves as part of his COVID roadmap to freedom.

At home, he is launching nine “vaccine passport” pilots from mid-April, including three football showpieces at Wembley, and four night-time entertainment trials in Liverpool.

And away, he is preparing for foreign holidays to go ahead this summer, with a “traffic light” system of rules in which travel to “green light” destinations will not require quarantine.Whether countries are red, amber or green, however, will depend on their vaccination and COVID-19 infection rates.

And the government is still saying: Don’t book a holiday abroad just yet.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has also given a strong signal that vaccine passports are on the way, based on a scheme used in Israel.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, he says: “Vaccination is a hugely powerful tool, but it can never provide 100% protection. That is why we need to look at every option potentially available to ensure the fastest, safest and most sustainable road back to normality.”

Mr Gove adds: “Given the hit the night-time economy and the entertainment sector has taken over the last year, anything which might help businesses re-open sooner must be worth considering.

“The Israeli approach involves a smartphone app and the NHS app could serve a similar purpose here.”

The Wembley pilots will be the Leicester City/Southampton FA Cup semi-final on 18 April, the Carabao Cup Final between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur on 25 April, and the FA Cup Final on 15 May.

The Liverpool trials will be at the Hot Water Comedy Club on 16 April, the Luna Cinema from 23-25 April, a business event at the ACC conference centre on 28 April, and the Circus Nightclub from 30 April to 1 May.

The other trials are the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre from 17 April – 3 May, and a mass participation run at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, 24-25 April.

“We have made huge strides over the past few months with our vaccine programme and everyone in the country has made huge sacrifices to get us to this stage in our recovery from COVID-19,” the prime minister said.

“We are doing everything we can to enable the reopening of our country so people can return to the events, travel and other things they love as safely as possible, and these reviews will play an important role in allowing this to happen.”

Though Mr Johnson rejects the term “vaccine passports”, on the Bank Holiday he will announce a system for “COVID-status certification” which could allow people to return to top-level sport, theatres and other public events.

He will say that over the coming months a system will be developed which will take into account three factors: vaccination, a recent negative test, or natural immunity determined on the basis of a positive test taken in the previous six months.

Businesses opening on 12 April, however, including pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops, will not be required to introduce certification, the government is emphasising.

But there is strong opposition to “vaccine passports” from many MPs. This weekend a cross-party group of 72 MPs signed a pledge opposing the scheme, which they claim is “divisive and discriminatory”.

If the plan requires legislation, the government may try to win over the rebels by promising them it will be temporary, perhaps for no more than a year.

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