POLITICS

In major U-turn, England ditches COVID vaccine passports in crowded places after backlash

Just a week after UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid defended the COVID vaccine passport scheme, England has decided to ditch the plans for using it for access to crowded venues. On Sunday, Javid announced that British authorities have decided to scrap the mandatory rule for vaccine passports to secure entry into a nightclub and other crowded places. However, he informed that the temporary shelving of vaccine passports could be revisited in case of an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases around autumn or winter.

During an interview with BBC, Javid told that the authorities have “looked at it properly.” He also added, “…whilst we should keep it in reverse as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”

The announcement comes at the heels of the government’s vaccine minister and cultural secretary praising the policy and stating that it would be necessary to enter public places for some time longer.

The England vaccine passport mandate was severely criticised by the members of the governing Conservative Party. They called the policy “an unacceptable burden” and “infringement on residents’ human rights. Despite the sudden surge in COVID cases in the UK, the relaxations announced by the PM Boris Johnson government come as a measure to tackle the slugged economy, which saw its greatest dip in the past 300 years. During his interview, Javid also mentioned that the UK is unlikely to observe any more lockdowns, although people must remain cautious.

Covid vaccine drive in the UK

The COVID passport also drew flak from citizens who found the idea of carrying identification documents “uncomfortable.” Meanwhile, UK has pushed forward a vigorous vaccination campaign to get the maximum of its population jabbed. So far, about 65.9% of the country is completely vaccinated and about 72% have received their first dose. On the other hand, UK will begin vaccination for teenagers between 12-15 years of age. Also, it is set to confirm details of a vaccination booster program after recommendations from the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation.

UK COVID cases

Following the delta variant of the Coronavirus pandemic, UK has observed a steep rise in infections. Around mid-July, the country reported around 43,000 cases per day. However, there was a gradual drop in cases since the beginning of August with 31,957 cases on August 6. As of September 12, the country reported 19,361 cases taking the total tally to 72 lakh cases and 1.34 lakh COVID-related deaths in the country.

With inputs from AP

Image: @SajidJavidMP_Instagram/Shutterstock (representative)

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