By Ben Kerrigan-
Boris Johnson is to force all brits intending to attend crowded venues to have vaccine passports, in a major controversial move on on a topic that has already sparked division.
The prime minister announced that from September it will be compulsory to enter packed venues such as nightclubs in an extraordinary U-turn, coming just hours after clubs were allowed to open for the first time in 16 months.
The prime minister spoke alongside England’s deputy chief medical officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, and the chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance. releasing the news they had always wanted to deliver, but finding the perfect time to do so.
The announcement will cause immense controversy in the Uk , after Boris Johnson revealed that once all adults have had the chance to receive two jabs, Covid vaccine certificates would be made mandatory in England. The idea of Covid passports had been suggested by the government for months now, but its imposition came suddenly, as the government announced the opening of night clubs.
Michael Gove had initially been charged with analyzing all the advantages and disadvantages of imposing a Covid vaccine passport on the country. It came suddenly and without warning, in a move that looks planned and timed.
The announcement also comes on the day same day that Sir Patrick Vallance revealed that 60% of those hospitalized by Covid had been double vaccinated.
“I should serve notice now that by the end of September, when all over-18s will have had their chance to be double jabbed, we are planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather,” he said.
Unlike at pilot events, where customers have been allowed to show evidence of a negative test, they will have to prove they have been double-jabbed due to about vaccine uptake among young people. Approximately 35% of 18- to 30-year-olds are unvaccinated, he said.
Addressing younger people directly, Johnson said: “Some of life’s most important pleasures and opportunities are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination.”
Less than 18 hours after almost all Covid restrictions were formally scrapped, allowing clubs to open and putting an end to mandatory masks and social distancing, the prime minister expressed concern about what he called the “continuing risk posed by nightclubs”. From just after midnight on Sunday, thousands of revellers were pictured dancing at clubs across the country as they celebrated “freedom day”.
Johnson was delivering a press conference from Chequers, where he is self-isolating after contact with the health secretary, Sajid Javid, who has tested positive for Covid.
The prime minister spoke alongside England’s deputy chief medical officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, and the chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, both of whom struck a sombre tone about the challenges ahead.
Vallance said hospitalizations could rise “quite a lot higher” than 1,000 a day as the lifting of restrictions allows more socialising, while Van-Tam repeatedly underlined the risks of unvaccinated people gathering in crowded indoor venues.
Asked what would happen if the NHS struggles to cope over the summer, Van-Tam said the Scientific Advisory Committee on Emergencies (Sage) would have to make recommendations, which could focus on “close contact indoors”.
However, a poll revealed today that millions of Brits are concerned about the inevitable case surge after Freedom Day, with 60% of those polled by YouGov saying they were “uncomfortable” with it, the Mirror reports.
73% of nightclubbers said they weren’t ready to go back, 30% were too worried to use busses and trains, 59% won’t go to large indoors events like concerts, 41% won’t go to large outdoor sporting events, 35% are uncomfortable going to weddings and 43% won’t go to the cinema
Conservative backbenchers were quick to criticize the new plans to make vaccine certificates compulsory for some venues. Former Brexit secretary David Davis said, “vaccination is sensible. But it is entirely wrong to try to coerce people into having them.”
Mark Harper, a Tory MP and former chief whip who leads the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, suggested the government could struggle to win support for the measures among other Conservatives in parliament.
He said: “I have to say I don’t welcome the minister’s statement, particularly vaccine passports for crowded venues, which is effectively moving to compulsory vaccination. I do however look forward to the debate and the vote in parliament when he will bring forward the evidence because I don’t think that is supported by the pilots that have taken place.”
Justin Madders, shadow health minister, said: “This make-it-up-as-you-go-along government is causing more chaos when what people and businesses need is certainty. How can it be safe to go to nightclubs now, with no protective measures, if in September it will require double jab status? It makes no sense.”
The Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: “Vaccine passports are Covid ID cards: unworkable, expensive and divisive.”
Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, reacted said: “What an absolute shambles … . The government’s own report into vaccine passports found they were more trouble than they’re worth – so what could possibly explain the about-turn, just as millions across the UK experience their first taste of a night out in a year and a half?”