Amid upheaval, Britain has scrapped plans to require COVID-19 vaccination passports for entry into stores, nightclubs, and other crowded venues.
Health Minister Sajid Javid confirmed during an interview Sunday on the BBC that the U.K. will not move forward with its original plan to begin requiring proof of inoculation later this month, according to The New York Times.
“Most people instinctively don’t like the idea,” Javid explained on “The Andrew Marr Show” over the weekend. “I mean, I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people, ‘You must show your papers,’ or something, to do what is an everyday activity.”
He went on to tell host Andrew Marr the government “looked at it properly,” referring to the idea of a vaccine passport mandate, adding officials should “keep it in reserve” before quickly adding he was “pleased to say we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”
Javid, it’s worth noting, bristled at the idea that the government scrapped its plan as a result of the intense backlash it faced. He told Marr, “We just shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it or because others are doing it, and we should look at every possible intervention properly.”
The health minister said he is not “anticipating any more lockdowns,” but wouldn’t rule out the possibility entirely. Javid noted, too, he wants to “get rid of” PCR tests for travelers as soon as possible.
For several months now, thousands of Britons have been taking to the streets to protest their government over the imposition of intense lockdown measures and the once-looming vaccine passport requirement.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who accumulated unprecedented powers in March of last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic first began, said in a statement he is planning to shed some of the outsized authority his government seized last spring.
“These extraordinary times required necessary but intrusive measures,” he said, according to Reuters. “But I’m determined to get ride of any powers we no longer need because of our vaccine defenses.”
The shift away from draconian measures in Britain comes as the U.S. is facing tighter government control.
Last week, President Joe Biden ratcheted up his authority, declaring every business with more than 100 employees will be mandated by his administration to either insure all their staffers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing. The rule will impact some 100 million Americans.
Biden defended the federal measure by stating he has “been patient” in waiting for people to choose to get vaccinated but, with one out of every four Americans still not inoculated, the president said his “patience is wearing thin.”
His chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on the “Skimm This” podcast that he would like to see all unvaccinated people banned from air travel in the United States.
“I would support that if you want to get on a place and travel with other people, you should be vaccinated,” said the director of then National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
As for Biden’s vaccine order, several states led by Republicans have vowed to push back against it, with conservatives describing the mandate as “gross federal intrusion.”
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