Covid passports ‘discriminatory’
INTRODUCING coronavirus vaccine passports for everyday life in England would be “dangerous, discriminatory and counterproductive”, a Labour peer has said.
Former shadow attorney general Baroness Shami Chakrabarti is among a crossparty group of politicians warning ministers against the move amid a review of the issues around Covid-status certification.
More than 70 MPs, including senior Conservatives and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as well as peers from the House of Lords, have launched a campaign claiming the scheme would be “divisive and discriminatory”.
Any scheme is likely to go beyond just showing whether someone has had a vaccine – as jabs are not mandatory – covering whether they have had Covid-19, and so are likely to have antibodies, or if they have a negative recent test. Labour peer Baroness Chakrabarti told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s dangerous, it’s discriminatory, it’s counter-productive.”
The former director of human rights organisation Liberty warned that using coronavirus certificates could create a “checkpoint Britain”.
“It’s one thing to have a passport to travel internationally, that is a privilege, even a luxury, but participating in local community life is a fundamental right,” she added.
The group’s pledge has been backed by Big Brother Watch, Liberty, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and Privacy International.
Senior Tory MP Sir Graham Brady, who is also a signatory to the pledge, which has been backed by a string of Conservative former ministers, insisted the aim should be to return to normal life.
The chair of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs said: “Covid-status certification would be divisive and discriminatory. With high levels of vaccination protecting the vulnerable and making transmission less likely, we should aim to return to normal life, not to put permanent restrictions in place.”
The Government has insisted no final decisions have been taken on whether Covid-status certification could play a role in reopening the economy.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has urged against people meeting others from different households indoors over the Easter weekend, warning vaccines do not guarantee “100% protection” from coronavirus.
Groups of up to six, or two households, are now able to meet up in parks and gardens after the stay-at-home order ended in England earlier this week, but socialising indoors remains banned to limit the spread of the virus.
As millions plan to see friends and family, the Prime Minister warned that the country was not yet at the stage of allowing people to meet indoors.
The earliest date that families and friends could be reunited inside their homes under the Government’s road map is May 17, with the rule of six or two households then set to apply indoors.