VACCINE passports could be required in pubs in England if Covid cases spiral during the winter months, the health secretary has said.
Sajid Javid’s winter plan only talks about vaccine passports for large events but he said he could not rule them out for pubs and clubs “if something happens”.
MPs have said they believe vaccine passports are preferable to lockdown measures and would support the hospitality industry.
When he was asked on LBC whether it was likely that punters would be asked to show vaccine passports to enter the boozer, Javid said: “No, I don’t believe we are, unless, and that’s why I want to caveat that . . . something happens that means that we have to take further measures.”
He said contingency plans “may well include vaccine passports as a reserve measure”.
The health secretary explained that if we saw a new variant that was more infectious or resistant to the vaccines, the government would be “ready to take further action”.
Javid argued it was “the act of a responsible government to recognise that when it comes to something like Covid, it’s not your friend, it’s clearly not always under your control.
“You can fight it, but you have to be ready because if Covid changes with a new variant, for example, it’s not going to wait for the government.”
Yesterday Boris Johnson published a Plan B for winter which said that if the epidemic significantly worsened, proof of vaccination would be required in spaces like nightclubs and concerts.
Gigs of more than 500 people would have restrictions and outdoor festivals with more than 4,000 visitors and big sporting events with more than 10,000 spectators would also be regulated.
The PM said he had “never been in favour of vaccine passports for pubs” but argued that they could have been a “game-changer” last year.
He told a Downing Street press conference: “It’s just not sensible to rule out completely this kind of option now when we must face the fact that it might still make the difference between keeping business open at full capacity or not.”
This comes after a top Sage adviser has urged Brits to trust in the vaccines and get used to people being in hospital as we head towards winter.
It comes ascases fell for the seventh day in a row yesterday despite gloomy warnings from some scientists of a back-to-school surge.
, virus expert at University College London, said this winter will be “very different” to last because so many people have now been jabbed.
He said: “It’s right we can do more and we can rely on the vaccine more than we did last year and reduce the social distancing measures.”
But he said we still needed the Plan B of vaccine passports, mandatory masks and advice to work from home if “things spiral out of control”.
He added: “We are in this for the long term. Covid isn’t going to just go away, no matter how much we vaccinate.
“We need to come to a point where society can function and live with the virus, and that does mean we also have to live with the hospitalisations.”
In another boost, the number of daily cases was down 21 per cent week-on-week to 30,597 — keeping up a downward trend that will ease pressure on theif it continues.