By Ben Kerrigan
Boris Johnson said vaccination passports will come on the international stage, as he announced a review into whether offering “Covid status certificates” could help venues to open again.
The Government’s vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi has labelled the idea of mandating vaccine passports “discriminatory, however the British prime minister seemed to subtly suggested its inevitability, after making reference to the likelihood for vaccine passports to be compulsory on the international stage.
Mr Johnson said: “There are deep and complex issues that we need to explore, ethical issues about what the role is for government in mandating all people to have something or indeed banning people from doing such a thing.”
He said senior minister Michael Gove would lead a review into the issue, although he added that some form of vaccine passport is “going to come on the international stage whatever” for foreign travel, as some other countries would insist on it.
“We need to thrash all this out, and we’ve got time,” he added.
It has been suggested that vaccine certificates or passports could be a way of opening up travel as the roadmap, which sets a path out of England’s coronavirus lockdown, says foreign holidays could be allowed as early as 17 May. Currently non-essential travel is banned.
He said: “That review will be informed by the evidence that we’re currently collecting on the impact of the vaccine on these, the so-called South Africa and Brazil new variants.
“If the vaccine works well against them, then we can be much more relaxed about international travel.
“If the vaccine doesn’t work against them, then that will be much, much more difficult.”
EasyJet said flight bookings jumped by more than 300% and holiday bookings surged by more than 600% week-on-week after the roadmap was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday night.
Beach destinations such as Malaga, Alicante and Palma in Spain, the Algarve in Portugal, and Crete in Greece were the most popular as the country sought something to look forward to after a winter stuck at home.
Most bookings were made for August, but July and September were also popular.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said the government’s exit plans had “provided a much-needed boost in confidence for so many of our customers in the UK”.
He said: “We have consistently seen that there is pent-up demand for travel and this surge in bookings shows that this signal from the government that it plans to reopen travel has been what UK consumers have been waiting for.
“While the summer may be a little while off, we will be working around the clock to ensure we will be ready to ramp up our flights to reconnect friends and family or take them on a long-awaited holiday to remember.”