Boris Johnson will today declare that friends and relatives can meet and hug again for the first time in a year
Boris Johnson should ignore the provocations, recall the gunboats – and gamble on the slow demise of the Macron presidency
The BBC has worked out that 44 per cent of local authority areas in England, and more than half in Scotland, did not record a single Covid fatality in April. Hardly surprising given the low incidence of the virus. According to the ONS, around one person in a thousand was infected in the week up to 24 April – down from one in 50 in January.
Why, then, are we being so slow to open up?
– Experts say Covid-19 is being turned into a ‚mild disease‘ in Britain, like the flu
– In an open letter they accuse Ministers and advisers of exaggerating the threat
– The scientists called on the Government to remove all Covid restrictions in June
Mass community testing is also unnecessary, say the signatories, who favour a more targeted approach along with encouraging hand-washing and surface cleaning.
They are also urging the Government to scrap vaccine passports as Covid „no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life“.
THOUSANDS of protestors have gathered in central London this afternoon to object to the continued lockdown measures.
The protest comes amid discussions over ‚Covid-status certificates‘ being considered by ministers to help open up society, get people back into work or away on holiday despite concerns from Boris Johnson’s own MPs that they will be ‚intrusive, costly and unnecessary‘.
Earlier this month, Britain’s equalities watchdog warned the Government that vaccine passports could be unlawful, create a ‚two-tier society‘ and discriminate against migrants, ethnic minorities and the poor.
A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: „We are working on a solution to enable residents to prove their COVID-19 status, including vaccination status, to other countries on the outbound leg.
„We are working on this as a priority and intend to have the solution ready as soon as possible.“
There were 250 in Westminster Abbey for Easter Day Eucharist. I know that Covid is a fiendishly clever critter, but can it really distinguish between normal congregants and mourners at a funeral? Why the harsher limit on the latter? Do those purse-lipped puritans on SAGE fear that grief might drive people to have a Covid-reckless sherry afterwards and start hugging the people they love? To borrow a favourite Prince Philip word, it’s bunkum.
— Comes as figures showed there are now just 1,973 patients with Covid-19 in UK
– Boris Johnson said he would not deviate from ‚cautious but irreversible‘ roadmap
‚With up to 60 per cent of the population vaccinated and around 5 to 10 per cent with natural immunity due to infection, we’re starting to see herd immunity take effect. This should prevent future large-scale outbreaks.‘
Professor Spector warned it was inevitable cases would pick up again as restrictions are eased over the coming months. But he said any outbreaks would be ’smaller‘ and ‚manageable‘ and among groups yet to be vaccinated.
It comes after the Prime Minister claimed the reduction in Covid infections, hospitalisations and deaths was down to lockdowns and was not achieved by the roll-out of vaccines.
The PM suggests the millions of jabs given over the past few months was not key to the reduction in COVID levels.
A year into the pandemic – and despite a world-leading vaccine rollout that is de-risking Covid more and more by the day – we are moving glacially out of lockdown. What’s more, we are told that social distancing may be here to stay for a long while yet. Even worse, the introduction of domestic vaccine passports – the transformation of Britain into a ‘papers, please’ society – now seems inevitable.
Parliament hasn’t even been guaranteed a vote on them, as Boris, doughty liberal that he is, continues to rule by decree.
Jake Hurfurt, head of research and investigations at Big Brother Watch, said:
“Netcompany’s chilling endorsement of segregated events and biosurveillance of our family members is a warning of the road Covid passes would lead us down.
“This contract shows that ministers misled Parliament and the public, claiming for months there were no plans for Covid passes and still claiming today that no decision has been made. This contract exposes the reality that work began on Covid certificates a long time ago.“
– Study shows Britain’s cases, deaths and hospitalisations has fallen to levels as low as those seen last July
– Epidemiologist professor Tim Spector of King’s College says UK’s figures are among the lowest in Europe
– University College London modelling suggested UK could pass threshold for herd immunity next week
– Tory MPs said increasingly positive data should result in Boris Johnson speeding up exit from lockdown
This only makes sense as a part of an incipient certification regime that would make public access to indoor events conditional on certain criteria.
Modelling by Imperial College London academics — involving ‚Professor Lockdown‘ Neil Ferguson — shows that coronavirus patients will take up around 5,000 beds during any future spike, far lower than the 30,000 occupied in January.
And thanks to the effects of vaccines far fewer of those patients will die, with daily deaths remaining below 100 even with cases above 50,000, according to the scenario that the scientists regard as most likely.
The Covid passport is a revolting idea. Authoritarian. Discriminatory. Un-British. The PM will give us more details in a press conference today but it’s a mark of how far lockdown has warped our values that it’s already being hailed as a “freedom pass”. The public is all for it, of course: these are the people who call the cops when they see a queue outside a church. We’ve become so used to control that being permitted to do something that in ordinary times would be quite normal, like go to the theatre or attend a football match, is treated as a benign act of mercy by an all-loving state.
Boris Johnson wants domestic Covid passports in place by June 21 – but faces the prospect of an embarrassing Commons defeat after promising Tory rebels a vote on their introduction.
Michael Gove is said to have made the offer to furious backbenchers appalled at the idea of forcing Britons to prove their vaccination status to enter pubs and other social hubs.
Boris Johnson wants the scheme to be up and running for June 21, when the last social distancing measures are expected to be swept away.
News of the trial events comes as senior Tories among a cross-party group have declared they will oppose the use of vaccine certificates, with 72 MPs signing a pledge to oppose the “divisive and discriminatory” scheme. Some have described their use as the creation of “checkpoint Britain”. A government scientific adviser has also warned that they could give people a false sense of security.
The size of the rebellion could create problems for the government, should it conclude that legislation is needed to introduce Covid passports
The same document presented a grid of 14 options for increasing compliance which included “use media to increase sense of personal threat”, a tactic which was seen as having a “high” effectiveness though spill-over effects “could be negative”.
Some Sage participants now admit to feeling “embarrassed” by such advice.
One regular Sage attendee said: “The British people have been subjected to an unevaluated psychological experiment without being told that is what’s happening.
Psychologists have accused Downing Street of using ‚covert psychological strategies‘ to emphasise the threat from Covid-19 without contextualising the risks, the Telegraph reported.
It was said this created ‚a state of heightened anxiety‘, adding many people became ‚too frightened to attend hospital‘.
Experts fear Britons have been the subject of an experiment in the use of tactics which operate ‚below their level of awareness,‘ it was said.
Freedom is not a reward for compliance. Freedom is not a gift to be meted out by the state according to the performance of its policies or public institutions. Freedom is innate in each of us, and our constitution. There is a common goal for the country to be healthy, safe and free – but we cannot arrive at freedom through compulsion.
There will be strong pushes for ever-inflating controls on individuals from industries that stand to profit, whether from the growing digital infrastructure those controls rely on, or the short-term boost in consumer ‘confidence’ – but the long-term impact on the economy, equality, social cohesion and the liberties that define our country cannot be under-estimated.
It would be an irrecoverable mistake to give in to these authoritarian impulses and allow our society to be divided. We urge the Government to bring the country together rather than drive groups apart – to protect citizens, prevent discrimination and safeguard our freedoms – to reject COVID-status certification.
– Unlikely alliance condemned vaccine passports as ‚divisive and discriminatory‘
– Members of coalition were organised by the pressure group Big Brother Watch
– Signed a pledge to oppose the idea if it is brought forward by ministers
– Signatories include Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVey
(08 October 2020)
Lord Neuberger linked the new powers to the coronavirus pandemic and suggested that if the government was seen to be ignoring the law, ordinary people might also decide to reject it,
„The government understandably expects people to obey the law: but I ask rhetorically, what moral authority does the government have expecting people to obey these draconian laws, if it itself is announcing that it intends to break its obligations under international law and intends to stop people going to court to enforce their rights against the government?“ he said.
Boris Johnson today said there is ‚definitely going to be a world in which international travel will use vaccine passports‘ as he faces a Labour and Tory revolt over them potentially being used domestically.