Covid passports not the answer to lockdown exit, say MPs

A cross-party group of MPs has said Covid passports are not the answer to a lockdown exit following concerns of an “infringement of individual rights”.

Saturday, 12th June 2021, 11:11 am

A report by a Government committee said the certification, which could show whether people had tested negative for coronavirus or had the vaccine to allow them access to certain events and venues, should not be a part of the planned rolling back of restrictions on Monday, June 21.

The Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) said Covid passports would “disproportionately discriminate” based on race, religion, age and socio-economic background.

The report also states that ministers who agree to the system internationally could be construed as being in contempt of Parliament as the Government’s launch of the Covid certificate has gone ahead “without notifying or consulting Parliament”.

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A smartphone screen displays a Covid-19 vaccine record on the NHS app. Picture: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images.

MPs involved in the committee found “no justification for introducing a Covid-status certification system that would be sufficient to counter what is likely to be a significant infringement of individual rights”.

While the scheme has been under consideration for at least six months, the report, which was released today – Saturday, June 12 – found that “the conflicting and sometimes contradictory statements” made by ministers regarding the introduction of the certificate “risked damaging trust in Government”.

Health ministers from G7 countries last week agreed on the need to work together to develop a ‘mutual’ recognition for testing and vaccination certificates across countries.

A review on the Covid-status certificates is now expected as part of the announcement on Monday, June 14 regarding whether or not restrictions will be lifted.

William Wragg MP, chairman of the PACAC said: “We recognise the need to formulate an effective lockdown exit, but Covid passports are not the answer.

“We are entirely unconvinced by the case for their introduction. Although it is a tool that is being sold as and built with the intention of being for the universal good, it has the potential to cause great damage socially and economically."

MPs said, even if they were put into use, they were targeted at mass events such as football matches which are out in the open and therefore of lower risk of the transmission of Covid, rather than indoor smaller, enclosed spaces.

A Government spokesman said a review of the evidence around Covid certification was still ongoing.

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