UK PM likely to announce free testing, Covid certificates in post-pandemic plan

·2-min read
Representative Image
Representative Image

London [UK], April 5 (ANI): UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to give the first detailed glimpse of England's post-pandemic society on Monday, announcing free twice-weekly coronavirus testing and COVID-19 certificates to allow people into nightclubs and sporting events.

According to The New York Times, the plans -- to be laid out by Johnson in a news conference on Monday evening -- are the next step in the government's phased reopening of the economy, as new coronavirus cases, hospital admissions and deaths continue to fall.

Starting next week, the government is expected to allow outdoor areas in restaurants and pubs as well as nonessential shops in England to reopen. Restrictions vary in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, where some aspects of the lockdown measures are determined by local governments.

He will also address foreign travel to Britain, which in most cases is banned until May 17, though he is expected to continue to be cautious because of the risk of new virus variants being imported.

"Among the most ambitious elements is a plan to offer free rapid-testing kits to the entire population, so that people can test themselves up to twice a week and be confident they are not carrying the virus. The kits, which are already used by hospital staff and schools, will be available by mail or at pharmacies," NYT reported.

"Later in the spring, the government plans to roll out some form of a certificate that will verify that a person has been vaccinated, has tested negative for the virus, or has antibodies from having recovered from Covid-19. These certificates will be used to gain admission to places where social distancing is most difficult," according to the news outlet.

How exactly the certificates will work is not yet clear, as the government is wrestling with thorny issues of civil liberties, social equity and logistics. (ANI)