Covid: Vaccine passport ‘could be extended to pubs and restaurants’ to slow Omicron

Scientific advisers are said to be calling for the measure to be taken (Image: Getty)

Ministers are said to be considering extending vaccine passports for pubs and restaurants in a bid to deal with Omicron after new data showed boosters played a key role in beating the virus. this body.

Under the government’s Plan B announced this week, people will need to show proof of vaccinations or test negative if they want to go to big events like nightclubs and concerts.

But according to The Times, the Government’s scientific advisers want to extend this measure to any public place amid the increasing Covid cases.

Several new restrictions are said to be under consideration, including requiring people to check in at sites, making face masks mandatory in high school classrooms, and extending vaccine passports to sites. entertainment.

The so-called ‘Plan C’ could also see a return to isolation for those in contact with all confirmed coronavirus cases – a policy implemented in Scotland today. by Nicola Sturgeon.

The First Minister said the UK was facing a ‘tsunami of infections’ as daily cases hit their highest number since January.

What are the new rules for vaccine passports in the UK?

Subject to MPs’ approval, from Wednesday 15 December people in the UK will need to use an NHS Covid card if they want to travel to:

  • Night club
  • Uncovered indoor venue with more than 500 people
  • Uncovered outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people
  • Any location with more than 10,000 people

Instead, those who are not fully immunized will be able to present evidence of a recent negative lateral flow test.

A scientific adviser told The Times that returning isolation to contacts and requiring negative testing to enter public places would be an effective ‘next step’, adding: ‘Yes there must be something else, but it can keep us going January.’

But Boris Johnson, who is embroiled in a snowballing scandal about Downing Street parties during last winter’s closure, is reportedly reluctant for further measures.

There are fears the reintroduction of the 10-day quarantine period will lead to a ‘pandemic’ that has brought much of the country to a standstill over the summer as hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to self-isolate, leading to wage shortages. real and chaotic traffic.

The possibility of tougher measures would also anger many Conservative supporters, who have opposed the current ‘Plan B’.

The PM is facing the biggest rebellion of his term as prime minister next week over a plan to issue vaccine passports at major events, with more than 60 Tory MPs expected to vote. against the new rules.

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However, scientists have warned the world faces a ‘pandemic 2.0’ if the threat from Omicron is not taken seriously.

The UK’s Health Security Authority (HSA) yesterday said Omicron is expected to become the dominant strain of bacteria in the UK within the next few days and cases could reach one million by the end of the day. month.

Experts say two doses of Covid vaccine provides less defense against infection from the new variant compared to Delta, the previous dominant line.

Dr Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s chief medical adviser, said: ‘I think what we’re seeing is that if you’ve had two doses more than three months ago, it’s not going to prevent you from getting symptomatic disease. ‘

However, the HSA found that taking a third dose would prevent about 75% of people from developing any symptoms of Covid.

The data spurred new calls for those eligible to further their boost.

But with only a third of the population being heavily injectable and infections doubling every two or three days, ministers have indicated that more restrictions may come in the near term.

Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove warned of a ‘deeply worrying situation’ after holding an emergency Cobra meeting on Friday afternoon to discuss the latest data and a coordinated response between the four countries. family.

He said ministers were ‘presented with some very challenging new information’, adding: ‘Action is absolutely needed, and as new data becomes available we will review the action we take. I need to do in the face of that data’.

Although he did not say what measures might come next, sources said the situation was “deeply worrying” and “all options are on the table”.

It comes with the HAS document, leaked to Guardians, calling for ‘strict action’ on or before December 18 to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed up to 5,000 people are hospitalized every day.

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Huynh Nguyen

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