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2 Apr, 2021 17:43

Fears over ‘second-class citizens’, freedoms & rights as UK government ‘plans Covid passport trials at sports events within weeks’

Fears over ‘second-class citizens’, freedoms & rights as UK government ‘plans Covid passport trials at sports events within weeks’

A reported government plan to trial 'passports' that could restrict access to sporting events based on Covid-19 tests and vaccine certificates have been met with a backlash in the UK, where it is expected to begin within weeks.

Fans are likely to be asked to take a test before and after showpieces and provide a certificate showing that they have been vaccinated in order to gain entry, according to a Telegraph report suggesting the experiment will be used in order to move a step closer to full arenas.

The League Cup final between Manchester City and Tottenham, the FA Cup final and the World Snooker Championship are said to be among the forthcoming events where measures will be introduced, although more than 70 ministers have backed a statement opposing the scheme, describing it as a "divisive and discriminatory" move that will be used to "deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs."

UK prime minister Boris Johnson suggested that the initiative could give businesses "maximum confidence" on Thursday, but opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer said the "British instinct" would be against 'passports' once restrictions ease, some of whom accused Nadhim Zahawi, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment, of lying after he said there were no such plans last month.

Others pondered whether the move would mean that predominantly older people would be allowed to attend events, given that the overwhelming majority of people who will be able to show proof that they have been fully vaccinated will remain in older age groups for the foreseeable future.

"As a younger adult, I won’t be offered a vaccine until mid-June at the earliest," said one. "Due to the low risk I face from this virus, I now become a second-class citizen in my own country.

"How can anyone find this happening to millions of people as even remotely acceptable?"

Another sarcastically joked: "Great cup final – ground full of pensioners. Buzzing to get a ticket for that."

More than 31 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a Covid vaccine, with take up high as the gradual easing of restrictions continues amid falling hospitalization and death rates.

England are scheduled to play the Czech Republic at Euro 2020 the day after all restrictions are due to end on June 21, and there has been optimistic talk that the showdown could take place at a full Wembley Stadium after a year in which matches have almost entirely taken place in empty venues.

"It needs to be stressed again and again: the people who denounce 'vaccine passports' are demanding the right to use other people's property without respect to those owners' rules," said David Frum, a senior editor and former speechwriter for ex-US president George W Bush.

A human rights campaigning account replied on social media: "We must universally and totally reject 'vaccine passports' at all costs.

"They will create a worldwide digital surveillance prison where human right are slowly eroded. This cannot be underscored enough. Anyone buying the soft-sell of 'temporary safety' has not thought it through."

Also on rt.com ‘I dare not imagine it’: Tennis boss worried for French Open as Covid chaos threatens to can Grand Slam amid strict new lockdown