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Covid passports for nightclubs could be introduced in England should the virus get out of control in the winter, the government has announced.
Unveiling the government’s plan for how to cope with the pandemic over the next few months, Sajid Javid said on Tuesday plan A was for the vaccination programme alongside test and trace to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed.
But if that did not work, the health secretary said a plan B “contingency” could be triggered that might include Covid passports.
Covid certificates could be brought in for visitors to the following venues:
Indoor, crowded settings with 500 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as music venues or large receptions;
Outdoor, crowded settings with 4,000 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as outdoor festivals; and
Any settings with 10,000 or more attendees, such as large sports and music stadia.
Under plan B, people could also be once again told to work from home and the legal requirement to wear face masks in some settings could return.
“Any responsible government must prepare for all eventualities, and although these measures are not an outcome anyone wants, it’s one we need to be ready for just in case,” Javid told MPs.
The government has also not ruled out imposing another lockdown in order to control the spread of Covid.
A document published alongside Javid’s statement said: “These contingency measures should be sufficient to reverse a resurgence in autumn or winter, the nature of the virus means it is not possible to give guarantees.
“The government remains committed to taking whatever action is necessary to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed but more harmful economic and social restrictions would only be considered as a last resort.”
It comes as ministers confirmed booster vaccines will be offered to people aged 50 and over, those in care homes, and frontline health and social care workers from next week.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be used as the booster dose for around 30 million people, with experts saying it is safe to be given alongside the usual winter flu jab.