Coronavirus news live: Covid passport trial to begin

UK Covid-19 vaccinations: Latest figures

Boris Johnson will set out plans for a “Covid status certification” scheme, which will begin trials this month at several pilot events.

It is hoped that the scheme will enable the safe return of mass events, such as sports matches, conferences and night clubs, without the need for social distancing. However, many MPs have voiced concerns over the idea of “vaccine passports” and will want to study the proposals closely.

The prime minister is expected to announce more details on Monday and said the government is doing “everything we can” to allow mass events to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In his Easter message, Mr Johnson said the UK can look forward to “brighter days ahead” and that the holiday brought “new hope” for the future.

“This has been a very tough 12 months,” he said. “But as ever, the arrival of Easter brings with it new hope.

“And, this year more than ever, it brings the promise of brighter days ahead for us all.”

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London church accuses police of ‘brutally exceeding powers’ after Easter service shut down

A church in southwest London has accused the Met Police of “brutally exceeding their powers” after officers shut down a Good Friday service for allegedly breaching coronavirus restrictions.

Worshippers at the Christ the King church, a Roman Catholic place of worship in Balham that caters to the area’s Polish community, had been marking Easter when police broke up the service at 6pm.

Officers were seen in footage walking up to the pulpit and telling worshippers to disperse, warning they faced £200 fines or arrest for breaking lockdown rules.

Kate Ng4 April 2021 09:45


Covid vaccination not necessary for participants in trial scheme

The University of Liverpool’s Professor Iain Buchan said vaccination against Covid-19 will not be necessary for those participating in trial events as part of the scheme to enable the safe return of mass gatherings and indoor events.

Prof Buchan, who will assist with running the scheme in Liverpool, said he did not “recognise the conversation earlier” with Prof Mills about vaccine passports.

“Vaccination will not be a criterion for admission to events: It will just be a test for particles of live virus in your nose,” he told BBC Breakfast.

He added that only those who have provided their consent would participate in the trial.

“This is a research programme based on good science and good ethical conduct is to seek consent, so consent is required to attend the event,” he said.

Kate Ng4 April 2021 09:28


Lots of ‘open questions’ about government’s planned Covid passport scheme, says expert

Professor Melinda Mills, director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford, said there are “still a lot of open questions” about the government’s planned “Covid status certification” scheme.

She told BBC Breakfast: “There’s scientific questions, there’s logistical questions – how will it work – with an app or a paper version? – and there’s real ethical questions as well, too: do I have to pay for the testing if I haven’t been vaccinated or had that opportunity?

“So there are still a lot of open questions.”

The sociologist said there may be concerns in the community about the storing of private information as part of the scheme, while forgeries could become an issue if paper documents are used.

“Once you have forgery you will lose your legitimacy, so it will be really important to understand technically how this will work,” Prof Mills said.

“The only way to build trust in these systems is through transparency.”

Kate Ng4 April 2021 09:16


‘Brighter days ahead’, says Boris Johnson in Easter message

The prime minister has said that the UK can look forward to “brighter days ahead” as the country celebrates Easter – while acknowledging that it has been a “very tough” year.

Boris Johnson said in his Easter message: “This has been a very tough 12 months. But, as ever, the arrival of Easter brings with it new hope.

“And, this year more than ever, it brings the promise of brighter days ahead for us all.”

He acknowledged that many Christians would again be unable to celebrate Easter in the way they wish to.

“That’s why I’ve lost count of the number of church leaders and congregations that have stepped up to support us all in these very challenging times,” Mr Johnson said.

“Millions of Good Samaritans, each of them showing what loving thy neighbour as thyself really looks like in 21st century Britain.

“And having done all that during the darkest days of the pandemic, churches across the UK are now helping us light the path out of it by opening their doors as vaccination centres. It’s really, very moving to see it.”

Kate Ng4 April 2021 09:05


‘Covid status certificates’ to be trialled in plan to bring back sports and nightclubs

Boris Johnson is to set out plans for a certificate system to identify those who are immune to the coronavirus as part of plans to bring back mass gatherings and indoor events as lockdown restrictions ease in England.

Whitehall officials have planned a series of trial events over the coming months as they look to find a way for venues such as football grounds and night-clubs to reopen without the need for social distancing.

Kate Ng4 April 2021 09:00


Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s liveblog following the coronavirus pandemic as it develops.

Kate Ng4 April 2021 08:57

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