More news ahead of the Crucible

This was in the press this morning

Covid passport trials poised to start in weeks at FA Cup Final and World Snooker

The idea of a Covid passport requiring people to show certification that they have either tested negative or been vaccinated when entering a public space has proved controversial

Prime Minister Boris Johnson elbow bumps a member of staff during a visit to the B&Q store in Middlesbrough
Prime Minister Boris Johnson elbow bumps a member of staff during a visit to the B&Q store in Middlesbrough (Image: PA)

A much-touted and controversial Covid passport scheme is poised to be trialled at large-scale sporting events within weeks.

But a backlash to the plans has seen more than 70 MPs sign a letter opposing the introduction of the “discriminatory” scheme.

Pilot schemes to safely open up large events with tighter-packed crowds are due from mid-April.

Among the events lined up for the pilot are the World Snooker Championship and FA Cup final, with the FA Cup semi-final, League Cup final and Brit Awards also said to be on the list.

This week a Tory minister suggested these trials will be combined with plans to trial “Covid certification checks” – more details of which are expected to be announced on Monday.

Certification refers to showing you’ve had either a test, a vaccine or both – but Boris Johnson yesterday put the emphasis on testing rather than vaccines.

So the trials could mean anybody going to the events is asked for a Covid test to gain entry as well as a further test after attendance.

This is so that any spread of the disease can be monitored. Government scientists are closely involved in designing pilots for the scheme.

Preston North End's Paul Huntington scores his side's second goal of the game
The idea could apply to big sporting events (Image: EMPICS Sport)

The events will run from April until May and in the early stages attendees will need a negative Covid test to gain entry, according to The Daily Telegraph.

For the later months, officials reportedly want to make use of an updated NHS app to show whether a person has been given the vaccine, tested negative or has antibodies.

But there has been a backlash to the plans.

More than 70 Tory, Labour and Lib Dem MPs have pledged to campaign against the “divisive and discriminatory use” of inoculation certificates to “deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs”.

Ronnie O'Sullivan suffers UK Snooker Championship loss
The World Snooker Championship could be among those to see a live audience again (Image: Daily Record)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Hart Biologicals at Hartlepool
But there has been opposition to the idea (Image: Teesside Live)

They include 41 Tories – potentially jeopardising the Prime Minister’s 80-seat Commons majority.

A government source told the Telegraph there was still time for changes to the pilot plan to be made before announcements from Mr Johnson are made on Monday.

The study on sports matches – an Events Research Programme – will look at holding mass events with less social distancing than expected under the current roadmap.

The roadmap says Step 3, from May 17 at the earliest, will allow mass events but only at 50% capacity, 1,000 people indoors or 4,000 people outdoors, whichever is smallest. Stadiums like Wembley are allowed up to 10,000 people.

But this month the government will begin separate pilots of mass events to see if rules can be eased further.

These will include in the Crucible theatre for the snooker championship, which starts in mid-April, and at Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup final on May 15.

If that is successful ministers will stuff “as many people as we can” into Wembley again for a pencilled-in Euros final in July, Mr Dowden told The Sun.

Mr Dowden said earlier this week: “[Some]thing that we are considering is a Covid certification, and we will be testing whether we can use Covid certification to help facilitate the return of sports.”

It comes after Boris Johnson suggested that Brits will ‘definitely’ need vaccine passports of some kind to take foreign holidays.

It’s understood the Prime Minister will outline the first stages of a “traffic light” system for foreign travel on Monday.

But it is claimed there could be as few as 12 nations on the “green” list from May 17, the earliest date foreign holidays can resume.

He is also expected to spell out a direction for domestic “certification” which could, eventually, lead to Brits being asked to show their vaccine or testing status to enter a venue like a pub.

I don’t understand the “controversial” bit here. Is it “controversial” that driving on the left is mandatory in the UK? No because it’s a matter of safety for all. Similarly, a number of vaccines are mandatory: dyphteria, tuberculosis, tetanus and more. Those vaccines are mandatory, because the risks associated with the illnesses are high. Tuberculosis was the first “killer” of young men in Western Europe less than 100 years ago. It’s almost disappeared. I read yesterday in the press that over 1 million Brits were suffering from “long covid”, which is very crippling. It seems to affect as much as 1 in 7 survivors. IMO, just as for the other illnesses cited above, covid vaccine should be mandatory, and event organisers as well as pubs and restaurants owners should be allowed to ask to see proof of it before allowing people in. Customers should be informed of the plces policy as well. Endangering others is not a “right” and nobody should have the “freedom” to do it, no more they have a freedom to drive on the right in the UK, or on the left in mainland Europe. Some people don’t believe in the risks, and there has been a lot of disinformation, but not believing in the risks doesn’t nullify the said risks. If those people were only endangering themselves, I wouldn’t care so much, but they do endanger others as well, whether they believe it or not, and those others have a right to be kept safe.


9 thoughts on “More news ahead of the Crucible

  1. If you really believed in the “vaccine” (experimental mRNA injection), then you would have nothing to worry about, now would you?!? As for the PCR test, it isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. FACT.

    • I don’t worry about the vaccine and if I could get one tomorrow I woud. It’s not yet possible for people my age where I am. And you are just believing what you WISH to be true. I’m sure thart you have no qualification whatsoever to back your opinions. Writing FACT in capital is not going to prove anything and won’t convince me.

      • That’s funny. I thought you would believe anything, including that masks have the ability to stop influenza viruses but not corona-viruses. (LOL.) Even accepting this ridiculous pseudo-science, why are they forcing everyone to have a mask if they don’t work.

        This is like shooting fish in a barrel.

      • Mask do work. their main purpose is not to stop “the virus” … whatever virus. Their main purpose is stop/prevent the spread of droplets, containing viruses, from saliva and sneezing. Virus survive better in moist environment. Masks only work if they cover all chin, mouth and nose, are thick enough and tight enough. They also need to be changed or washed often. That’s not speudo-science, it;s been proven and known for a long time, and masks have been used in hospitals, surgical theathre and around immuno-depressed persons for a reason, not as a fashion statement. Everyone should wear a mask in crowded environments, indoors in public spaces, and around fragile persons.

  2. Yes it’s a disappointment that lockdowns may still be extended because of some ‘fairness’ argument. People need to get used to unfairness sometimes. Vaccine passports may allow some people to resume their life and livelihood. Resentment is an immature reaction. Apart from food shopping, I have stayed in my house for 13 months, without speaking to anyone in person apart from a few words in shops, muffled by a facemask. The ‘civil liberties’ argument is an unthinking one, based on ‘instinct’ rather than analysis.

  3. Hi Monique,

    I am a strong supporter of vaccination and am fortunate to have had my covid shots due to my age! But I wanted to comment on a couple of points you made.

    Firstly TB hasn’t nearly disappeared. It has been increasing since the 1980s and kills 1.5 million people a year. Many antibiotics no longer work on TB and there is concern that the diverting of scientific focus to covid will weaken the fight against TB, also against malaria. I have a special concern about TB as my parents and several other family members died from it in the 1940s and 50s and as a child I was a latent TB patient. The first TB vaccinations and effective treatments were not available till some years later.

    Secondly we don’t have mandatory vaccination in the UK. Most children have the vaccinations you mentioned but its not mandatory. And at present the vaccination for covid is available to only older age groups and vulnerable people with concerns that supplies may be limited for some months. I also understand that it does not prevent transmission of the virus.

    Testing would seem to be the answer but the UK testing schemes aimed at the general population have been pretty shambolic and my feeling is that many feel cynical about the process. And reliance on an app assumes everyone has a mobile phone and can use it.

    I strongly support measures to keep people safe but we need robust systems that people have confidence in and that will work for everyone. Until that is the case I would rather see live audiences restricted.

    • TB had almost completely disappeared in mainland western Europe with mandatory vaccinations of children. Unfortunately it has come back to an extend with illegal immigration. It’s still a huge issue in poorer countries. Also I agree with you on everything there.

    • Sure. I’m 48 years’ old and had my (first) vaccination one month ago. At the moment over 30M people have been vaccinated, and almost everyone in any kind of vulnerable group has been offered a vaccine. Testing in the UK is usually available, for example in schools. There are many false results, but I wouldn’t say ‘shambolic’. As for ‘mandatory’, there are many vaccines (e.g. yellow fever) that are mandatory for overseas travel, or work in certain areas. If we are to relax lockdown sometime in 2021, there will need to be some reliance on vaccines and falling transmission rates.

      But frankly, whatever ‘medical advice’ may proclaim (I haven’t been terribly impressed by their expertise), the policy must be a politicial decision. With so many people vaccinated, compliance will inevitably evaporate in the summer. Endless lockdown is too much to bear for many people; for me it’s as if a year has been ripped away from my life, and my general health has simultaneously declined, partly by suffering covid myself, but more so because of general inactivity and depression. And I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to continue working from home.

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