WORK has started on developing Covid freedom “passports” which would allow those who have a negative test to go to pubs, schools and work.
The government has handed two firms contracts to begin exploratory work on a new app which would allow people to prove they do not have the coronavirus.
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Although in the early stages, it’s hoped a system will be developed where people are assigned a QR code on their mobiles which links to a digital passport with a photo of them.
Following a Covid negative test, this would be updated at the test centre and when they wish to enter a venue all they have to do is present the QR code as proof.
The venue could also refuse entry to anyone without a recent negative test.
It is unclear though how people without a smartphone would be able to prove they were free of the Covid virus.
The Department of Health said no decision had been made on the introduction of the passport.
There are critics to the proposed plan who say it would effectively create an “apartheid” system between those who have the virus and those who do not.
A Department of Health source said the scheme was “exploratory work” and the system was not being introduced imminently.
“It is about looking at ways we could use this in future,” the source told the Daily Mail. “It is looking at whether it would be possible.
“There are no plans to introduce immunity passports.”
Michael Gove had previously ruled out bringing in passports for those who had been given the vaccine over fears that anyone who declined to have the jab would be discriminated against.
The plan for the “negative Covid-19 test certification” was revealed on the Government’s contracts checker.
A £42,000 contract was signed with Netcompany UK for a “Covid-19 Certification/Passport MVP” in November.
The description of the contract says it is for developing “a negative Covid-19 test certification minimum viable product” – a simple version of the app to prove it would be feasible to develop further.
Another contract, worth £34,000, was handed to the Hub Company.
Under its scheme, individuals would sign up to an app giving them a personal QR code.
The contracts are thought to only refer to Covid test passports.
The Department of Health and Social Care said it was “continually exploring ways in which we can return to normality”, including through technology.
A spokesman said: “We have no plans to introduce immunity passports following this vaccination programme.”
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