Johnson announces vaccine certificates on ‘Freedom Day’

By Hamed Chapman

London, (The Muslim News): Boris Johnson defiantly proceeded with removing most restrictions to contain the third wave of the Covid pandemic ripping across the UK which forced him to isolate to mar what was supposed to be Freedom Day.

In an extraordinary U-turn, the British Prime Minister announced that vaccine passports will be compulsory to enter packed venues such as nightclubs that were being allowed to open for the first time since the first wave of the pandemic last year.

“I should serve notice now that by the end of September, when all over-18s will have had their chance to be double-jabbed, we are planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather,” he said in a video linked press conference.

Johnson was speaking from his official country residence at Chequers, where he is self-isolating after being in contact with Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, who tested positive for Covid-19.

“I know that with cases increasing steadily and with more and more people being asked to self-isolate there will, of course, be those who would rather that we’d waited weeks or months longer and kept on social distancing and all the legal restrictions that we have been placing on our lives,” he said.

The more sombre tone about the challenges ahead was struck with England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam and Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, attended the briefing in person.

Vallance warned hospitalisations could rise “quite a lot higher” than 1,000 a day as the lifting of restrictions allows more socialising, while Van-Tam repeatedly underlined the risks of unvaccinated people gathering in crowded indoor venues.

Labour Leader, Sir Kier Starmer, repeated his condemnation of Johnson going ahead with his decision to lift Covid restrictions in England in the face widespread scientific and medical warnings as ‘reckless’ saying the Delta variant, which has been dubbed the Johnson variant, is “already out of control risks a summer of chaos”.

“The Tories have got virtually every big decision wrong either in substance or timing or both,” Starmer said in his strongest condemnation yet of the decision to press ahead with the reopening on Monday. “People have died. Tragically, more will do so. It is possible to forgive an unprecedented situation.”

The introduction of vaccine passports contrasts with allowing clubs in the meantime to open and ending the mandatory masks and social distancing that has caused more havoc and mixed signals on transport and indoor places such as shops.

[Photo: Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a virtual COVID-19 press conference from Chequers alongside [not seen] Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser and Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, who were speaking from the Media Suite in 9 Downing Street on 19 July 2021.. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street]

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