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Johnson: Covid ‘pass’ could herald safe return to live

Issuing virus passports certifying concertgoers' healthiness may allow live events to take place without social distancing, said the UK PM

By IQ on 09 Sep 2020

Johnson at Downing Street on 9 September

Johnson at Downing Street on 9 September


image © Pippa Fowles/No 10 Downing Street

The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, said today (9 September) that mass testing for Covid-19 could allow live events to restart without social distancing before a vaccine is available.

In a 4pm press conference, Johnson floated the idea of temporary ‘passes’, issued to people following a negative Covid-19 test, that would allow them to attend a live entertainment or sporting event and “mingle” with other healthy attendees.

The UK is working towards increasing its testing capacity to 500,000 a day, Johnson told journalists, which would allow those who don’t have the disease to behave “normally”, including at major events such as concerts.

He added that such a scheme – which would see venues turning away those who don’t have a Covid pass or who test positive at the door – will be piloted in Salford, Manchester, in the coming months, with plans to roll it out more widely should it prove successful.

Johnson described the idea for virus ‘passports’ as his “moonshot” to restart live events

Johnson described the idea for virus ‘passports’ as his “moonshot” to restart live events, and said he hopes it could be live by next spring.

The press conference follows similar reports in the UK press over the weekend, with health secretary Matt Hancock even more optimistic, telling LBC on Saturday that he hopes 24-hour passes could be available by Christmas.

Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn told IQ in July he is “incredibly optimistic” about the UK’s 2021 festival summer, even in the absence of a vaccine, saying testing for Covid-19 has come on leaps and bounds since the start of the pandemic. He expressed similar sentiments at yesterday’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing at parliament, emphasising the need for widespread testing of would-be festivalgoers.

The UK had 2,460 daily cases of the coronavirus yesterday (8 September).

 


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