Boris Johnson has warned vaccinated people not to meet up indoors this Easter because the jabs “are not 100% effective”.
The prime minister’s video message comes as politicians across party divides are uniting to oppose the possible introduction of vaccine passports that risk creating “a two tier nation of division”.
More than 70 MPs and peers have joined forces to apply pressure on the government ahead of Monday’s publication of the government’s “indication of firm proposals” on the issues, following a review by Michael Gove.
Among the ideas considered are proof of jab cards and vaccine passports for people to access not only pubs but other services, employment and venues.
“Both Mr Johnson and Mr Gove had previously expressed opposition to such ideas, but have recently signalled that they could be in favour of such a scheme,” states the Telegraph’s report.
‘Vaccines are not 100% effective,’ warns PM
Ahead of the second Easter weekend under lockdown, the prime minister tweeted a video warning vaccinated people not to meet up indoors because the jabs “are not giving 100% protection”.
“We’re still very much in a world where you can meet friends and family outdoors under the rule of six or two households,” Johnson said, adding that “we just need to be cautious” because vaccines are not 100% effective.
“We don’t think that they entirely reduce or remove the risk of transmission.”
‘Covid passports aren’t British’ says Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer suggested Covid passports would be un-British, telling the Telegraph: “My instinct is that, as the vaccine is rolled out, as the number of hospital admissions and deaths go down, there will be a British sense that we don’t actually want to go down this road.”
Starmer said his party will scrutinise any proposals before deciding to support or oppose the measures.
‘The stuff of dystopian nightmares’
“It’s one thing to have a passport to travel internationally, that is a privilege, even a luxury, but participation in local community life is a fundamental right,” said Labour peer Baroness Chakrabarti, warning it could lead to a “’checkpoint Britain’ that so many of us just do not want.”
Chakrabarti, a former head of human right group Liberty told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Covid passports could end up giving “policing power” to every bouncer or unscrupulous boss”.
She added: “It’s a recipe for bullying, it’s a recipe for corruption, it’s a recipe for discrimination and it’s not what we sacrificed so much for as a community over the past year.”
Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch told the BBC: “In order to be able to execute this we will have to have digital IDs that go into the back bone of the NHS and the first thing attached to this digital ID is going to be very sensitive health data.
“This is the stuff of dystopian nightmares, and worse, we are going to see citizens policing each other to impose this kind of exclusion and segregation.”
Passports for pubs ‘upto publicans’, hints PM
On the question of Covid-passports for pubs, Johnson said it “may be up to individual publicans” and speculated that ‘checks for entry’ could involve vaccine cards, results from a recent negative test or proof of previous infection.
The prime minister said he wouldn’t block landlords from demanding proof from patrons to gain entry while Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary has been affirming passports as a “tool in the short term” to help lift restrictions at sporting and cultural venues.
The government is set to publish an “indication of firm proposals” on Monday, when Johnson will give the update to Michael Gove’s review.