U.K. Covid Passports May Not Be Ready for Months, Telegraph Says
The Covid passports designed to restart large-scale events in the U.K. may not be ready until fall, according to the Telegraph newspaper.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will confirm on Monday a plan to allow people to attend public events including sports games by either showing proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or antibodies from an infection in the last six months, the newspaper reported on Sunday.
But the certification project, which will likely be on a mobile app, will take months to develop, the Telegraph said, citing unidentified senior government officials.
While the rapid pace of vaccination has bolstered optimism the U.K. is on track to fully reopening an economy bludgeoned by the latest lockdown, more than 70 members of Parliament have pledged to oppose the use of Covid passports, calling them “divisive and discriminatory.” That suggests Johnson may still struggle to push the measure through the 650-seat legislature.
“We need to look at every option potentially available to ensure the fastest, safest and most sustainable road back to normality,” Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove wrote in a Telegraph editorial. “There are, of course, a host of practical and ethical questions we have to answer before we can consider a wider roll-out.”
On Sunday the government also announced a list of pilot events including soccer’s EFL Cup Final that will host large crowds and provide evidence on how more venues can operate this summer. Covid-status certification will be part of the trial.
The Covid passports will not apply to essential services such as the supermarket, Gove said in the Telegraph. In a concession to members of Parliament opposing the plan, bars and restaurants will also be excluded, the Sunday Times reported.
Johnson will also confirm on Monday that countries will be sorted into a tiered list when international travel resumes after May 17, according to the Telegraph. Three categories, which will based on factors including vaccination progress and infection rates, will determine quarantine and test requirements.