Just last week, plans had been announced that would require venue-goers to prove their COVID vaccine status before being granted access to large scale venues and nightclubs. However, it seems the government made a U-turn on Sunday, announcing that the vaccine passports will no longer be going ahead.
Health Secretary makes u-turn over vaccine passports
Plans for vaccine passports were initially supposed to be introduced by the end of this month. However, following criticism from MPs and venues,vaccine passports have now been scrapped. Health Secretary Sajid Javid told The Andrew Marr Show: ‘We just shouldn't be doing things for the sake of it or because others are doing, and we should look at every possible intervention properly.’
I've never liked the idea of saying to people, you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it.
However, Sajid Javid also revealed that vaccine passport plans would be kept in the back pocket as a ‘reserve option’:
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.
Last week, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi revealed that the end of September was the perfect time to implement the vaccine passport scheme as by then, all over 18s would have had the opportunity to receive both COVID jabs. The Vaccines Minister explained that the procedure would be the best way to prevent nightclubs from becoming COVID hotspots and potentially facing closure over the winter.
However, despite England changing its mind, Scotland has announced that it will be introducing vaccine passports for nightclubs and large-scale events as soon as October. Meanwhile, Wales will be deciding their stance next week, and there are currently no plans for vaccine passports in Northern Ireland.
Sajid Javid wants to ditch PCR tests for travellers
Sajid Javid also revealed to Sky News that he wants to remove PCR tests for Brits returning from overseas ‘as soon as I possibly can’ and has already started speaking to officials for advice:
We have got a huge number of defences; of course, we still want to remain very cautious, and there are some things that - when it comes to travel for example - there are some rules that are going to have to remain in place
He continued: ‘But the PCR test that is required upon your return to the UK from certain countries... I want to try and get rid of that as soon as I possibly can.’
Javid revealed that he is already speaking to officials for advice on the subject, stating that ‘We shouldn't be keeping anything like that in place for a second longer than is absolutely necessary.’
Currently, anyone returning from green or amber listed countries is required to take a PCR test up to three days before their return and two days after. Those who are not fully vaccinated will also need to have a COVID test booked for day eight of their return.
Last month Javid revealed there would be a ‘rapid internal review’ of PCR test prices for holidaymakers as the travel industry claimed their customers were being exploited. Now, PCR tests have dropped from £88 to £68 per PCR test.