British Children Could Need Immunity Passports to Attend Events

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 31: Pupils at Rosshall Academy wear face coverings as it becomes mandatory in corridors and communal areas on August 31, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. New rules starting today require children over 12 to wear face coverings in corridors and other communal areas in schools in Scotland. …
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Ministers have reportedly left open the possibility of requiring children to have coronavirus immunity passports in order to access events at large venues.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove is conducting a review on what Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called “covid status certification”, which could be used, possibly via a mobile phone app, to show if a person has been vaccinated, is naturally immune after recovering from the Chinese virus, or has tested negative following a lateral flow test.

While the government has been vacillating on which businesses will be considered essential and exempt from immunity passport controls, such as pubs, the prime minister said that trials would go ahead later in the year for attending large-scale events like at sports stadiums and concerts.

Most children cannot be vaccinated at present, but Mr Gove is said to have left open under-18s needing “covid status certification”, which could still be confirmed with a test. A Number 10 Downing Street source told the i newspaper on Tuesday: “At the moment it’s looking most likely that children won’t be included, but everything is under review so it is too early to say at this point.”

The Department for Education also confirmed on Tuesday that pupils at secondary (middle and high) schools and further education colleges will be expected to wear masks in classrooms and communal areas until at least May 17th.

The news came as a blow to parenting campaigners who object to young people being coerced to cover their faces in school, over concerns the long-term wear “risks damaging their health and welfare, and of course their ability to learn, develop and communicate”, according to UsforThem co-founder Molly Kingsley.

The i reports that Gove is still considering including pubs, restaurants, and non-essential retail under the vaccine passport mandate.

While Prime Minister Johnson denied on Monday that passports would be needed for going to the pub, either when outdoor hospitality opens next week or under stage three, the government would not rule out immunity certificates at a later phase in the year, telling Britons that “COVID-status certification is likely to become a feature of our lives until the threat from the pandemic recedes”.

Last week, reports circulated that government ministers were drawing up a list of venues and circumstances where vaccine passports would not be needed, so as not to exclude Britons from essential services. The Guardian reported that the government spokesman would not clarify on Tuesday, however, whether clothing shops could be considered essential or non-essential, and therefore possibly require a vaccine passport.

Conservative MP Mark Harper, chairman of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, warned that vaccine passports could create a “two-tier Britain”.

Mr Harper said on Monday night that it was “crucial MPs are allowed a vote on this, as Michael Gove promised last week”.

“Whether the state legislates for it, recommends it or simply allows it, Covid status certification will lead to a two-tier Britain and these issues need debating thoroughly and carefully before we allow them to affect the lives of our constituents,” he added.

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