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UK government proposes pilots for Covid-19 passports as way out of lockdown

The UK government says it plans to trial...

Posted: Apr 4, 2021 9:14 AM

The UK government says it plans to trial Covid-19 passports at snooker tournaments, comedy clubs and soccer matches over the coming weeks.

As the country reopens, ministers hope the "covid-status certification" system will allow those who are vaccinated, have had a recent negative test or a positive test within six months to return to theaters, football matches, cinemas and other events.

Several countries consider some form of Covid-19 status verification as a viable way to make it quick and easy for individuals to attend events or board flights, but critics are worried the passports will harm fundamental freedoms and risk discrimination.

The UK pilot, which will be discussed in detail Monday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will test the effectiveness and transmission risks of the government's reopening plan and starts on April 16 at Liverpool's Hot Water Comedy Club. Other events and venues listed for April are the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre, the FA Cup Semi Final at Wembley Stadium in London and Luna Cinema in Liverpool.

"We have made huge strides over the past few months with our vaccine programme and everyone in the country has made huge sacrifices to get us to this stage in our recovery from covid-19," Johnson said in a statement on Saturday. "We are doing everything we can to enable the reopening of our country so people can return to the events, travel and other things they love as safely as possible, and these reviews will play an important role in allowing this to happen."

The National Health Service is developing paper and digital methods for citizens to prove their Covid-19 status. The government stressed that passports will not be needed to travel on public transport or enter essential shops.

More than 70 MPs this week joined civil liberties groups such as Big Brother Watch in launching a campaign railing against the proposed use of documents allowing people access certain domestic venues. Senior politicians such as former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey were signatories to a statement which said vaccine passports are "divisive and discriminatory."

Davey described the passports as "illiberal and unworkable" in a tweet Friday.

"Work is ongoing with clinical and ethical experts to ensure appropriate exemptions for people for whom vaccination is not advised and repeat testing would be difficult," the government said in Saturday's statement.

A tourism minister said Sunday the certification was "one of the tools" the government is looking at to "help us get back to the things that we love."

"We're very conscious and very aware of the ethical considerations around vaccination certification," Nigel Huddleston told CNN affiliate ITN. "The key purpose of looking at this option is to see how it can enable us to open up, getting back to the things that we want to do sooner... Lots of businesses tell me opening is one thing, but what we really need to do is be able to open profitably and as long as social distancing is around, then that causes real challenges for us to be able to open as viable businesses again."

International travel from the UK is still banned until May 17, but after that date the government will implement a "traffic light" system. Travelers arriving from "green" countries will not have to isolate while those from "red" or "amber" will continue to be restricted to the mandatory quarantine policies currently in place.

The American Civil Liberties Union said this week that plans to roll out a standardized vaccine passport must account for social inequalities and privacy rights and anything less is a "nonstarter." Several organizations and tech companies have already started developing smartphone apps and other digital systems to store and verify vaccination information.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Friday banning the use of Covid-19 passports in the state. The order prohibits any government entity from issuing vaccine passports and blocks businesses from requiring any such documentation.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 394569

Reported Deaths: 5243
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60720847
Washington42359405
Marion40153516
Clackamas33040387
Lane30428361
Jackson25105363
Deschutes23795189
Umatilla15144184
Linn14859183
Douglas13523293
Josephine10278247
Yamhill9840143
Klamath9112149
Polk8325102
Benton615338
Malheur593292
Coos5768109
Columbia438056
Jefferson424366
Lincoln365852
Crook343057
Union340756
Wasco318646
Clatsop263635
Baker221833
Tillamook218046
Hood River216537
Morrow197825
Curry193939
Harney121333
Grant109116
Lake105617
Wallowa76313
Sherman1933
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5105427

Reported Deaths: 74781
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153243027225
San Diego4091824350
Riverside3892365381
San Bernardino3762805983
Orange3352965756
Sacramento1690952452
Kern1582701828
Fresno1574692270
Santa Clara1528571928
Alameda1256281512
San Joaquin1080791835
Ventura1043091192
Contra Costa1042181056
Stanislaus919641429
Tulare867391100
San Francisco57141674
San Mateo56585631
Monterey52842626
Solano47828360
Santa Barbara47523555
Merced45309671
Sonoma43349414
Placer42458473
Imperial38932776
Kings35370367
San Luis Obispo31667360
Madera26388311
Shasta26221461
Butte25608318
Santa Cruz22402224
Yolo21722261
Marin18587249
El Dorado18448168
Sutter14646186
Napa13446106
Yuba1079891
Tehama10316131
Humboldt10294119
Nevada10112105
Mendocino864999
Lassen797656
San Benito787979
Tuolumne778491
Lake7057113
Amador580067
Siskiyou479657
Glenn458536
Calaveras445788
Del Norte377942
Colusa328321
Inyo257346
Plumas19577
Mono19034
Mariposa162218
Trinity100717
Modoc7936
Sierra2190
Unassigned1560
Alpine1080
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