Control, freedom, discrimination are once again in the British debate at the moment of designing the return to a certain normality. The Government is studying the introduction of a COVID certificate, which guarantees the immunity of the bearer . The first trials of the electronic pass begin next week, but the idea is meeting strong resistance among the political class and some business sectors.
The simple suggestion that such a certificate may be required to enter pubs, theaters, discos or mass events, such as football matches, has ignited a controversy about equality, public freedoms and the need to avoid a new wave of coronavirus.
Such a pass “would create a miserable Checkpoint Britain dystopia,” Conservative MP Steve Baker has even said, comparing the new system to the famous checkpoint (Checkpoint Charlie) on the Berlin Wall. “It is completely incompatible with freedom,” he says.
Back to normal
Dozens of conservatives like Baker oppose the so-called “vaccination passport” for internal use and international travel . They demand that the bill be put to a vote in Parliament. The Labor leadership has not yet clearly decided its position, but many of its MPs will object, considering the plans “discriminatory” .
Boris Johnson acknowledged this week that the certificates raise “ethical and practical questions.” The prime minister did not want to specify under what circumstances they would be enforceable, but warned that “it can play an important role, both domestically and internationally, in allowing people to return to something akin to normalcy.”
The application would include vaccination, immunity in the previous six months and negative tests carried out the day before. Nicola Sturgeon, in Scotland, is considering similar plans.
Bars and nightclubs are among the sectors most strongly opposed. ” It is not practical, nor fair,” they point out from Rekon UK, which runs 42 stores. The proposal for Simon Emny, of the Fuller, Smith & Turner group with almost 400 pubs, “goes against the spirit of a public house , which is to be a place open to all . ” In an editorial, The Financial Times defends, instead, the pass, as a way to reopen society and the economy and to protect the country from the risks of new strains.
The pass to international flights
The dilemma is not just British. The covid certificate will be essential for future international trips. Singapore will accept from next month the electronic pass on mobile, developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) .
Passengers will be able to travel freely and enter the Asian country just by showing the application, which will avoid checks and delays at airports. Singapore will be one of the first to use the IATA pass , but more than 20 airlines , including Emirates, Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines, are testing it, awaiting approval from more governments around the world.