UK Finally Terminating Domestic Covid Pass System Next Week

RAMSGATE, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 16: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks past a poster advertising the NHS COVID Pass application, during a visit to an NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre on December 16, 2021 near Ramsgate, United Kingdom. The Government is pushing the booster jab program as the country recorded …
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The UK government has announced it will be discontinuing the domestic vaccination passports that allowed businesses to discriminate against would-be customers based on medical status from next week.

The UK’s ‘NHS COVID Pass’, a digital document used to prove vaccination status in order to gain admittance to public venues, businesses, and the like will no longer be available from the 12th of May, the government has said.

While the Covid pass hasn’t been mandatory since January, the government has, until now, allowed businesses and events to bar patrons from entry depending on their vaccination status, on a voluntary basis. As the updated advice puts it, the change to stop providing the public with vaccine passports on request now means “that venues and events will no longer be able to request it as a condition of entry”, in effect ending one of the last visible vestiges of the Covid security state.

The Covid certs were demoted to voluntary only on January 27th, at the same time as the government’s mask mandates, when — in the parlance of the time — the UK moved from ‘Plan B’ restrictions back to ‘Plan A’. Until that point, masks had been mandatory in indoor venues like shops, cinemas, theatres, churches, and public transport, and many venues required the public to prove their vaccination status to get inside.

It was suggested at the time the relaxation of rules was intended to throw public attention away from the then-growing Partygate scandal. Whether that strategy succeeded will no doubt be judged in time, but over four months later the scandal still dominates headlines. The government, by contrast, claimed in January the United Kingdom could move away from the masks and ‘papers-please’ mandates because of the widespread takeup of vaccinations and ‘boosters’.

Whatever the reason for the rule change in the UK, it was followed by a cascade of other European countries following suite in removing mask mandates and other restrictions.

While the domestic covid pass is soon to be history — until next winter, perhaps — the NHS will continue to issue a very similar document for international use, the travel pass. While many countries still require proof of vaccination to enter the nearest continental neighbour to the UK, France, has now done away with this requirement altogether. As of April, those entering France can either present vaccination data or a negative PCR test.

Unlike other covid measures, the UK’s international travel vaccine passes appear to be entrenching their position. As of last month, the document was expanded from adults downwards to children, meaning those as young as five years old can now prove they’ve got the shot.

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