Boris Johnson has ended the UK government’s ‘Plan B’ social restrictions on how to deal with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in England.
In a speech in the House of Commons in January, the Prime Minister said orders from home, instructions on how to wear masks in public places and presenting NHS Covid passports to enter crowded venues would all be scrapped due to the surge in infections coming into the New Year slacked off in what experts feared was a wave of mass hospitalizations.
“Venues and events are no longer legally required to use the NHS Covid Passport,” explained the Department of Health on the government website on the latter point.
“The NHS Covid Pass can continue to be used on a voluntary basis, as was previously the case with Plan A.”
The pass has been unpopular with many of Mr Johnson’s Conservatives since its introduction, some of whom saw it as a violation of civil liberties, a stance Tory MP Marcus Fysh took extremely widely when he compared its implementation to Nazi Germany.
A major backbench rebellion erupted on Tuesday, December 14, when MPs in the House of Commons voted to approve Plan B restrictions. The revolt was also in part a protest at the prime minister’s increasingly frayed and scandal-ridden leadership.
The Liberal Democrats also objected to the passports, accusing the government of “secretly” introducing ID cards in early 2021 when the NHS app was updated and have since called them “illiberal and destructive” and warned that they were being used “represent a massive change”. the relationship between ordinary people and their government”.
However, as Sir Keir Starmer’s opposition Labor Party would always support the government’s position, believing it was in the national interest, the mutiny did not prevent its adoption.
To access your digital NHS Covid Pass you need to download the free NHS app on your smartphone – and be registered with a GP in England to access it.
By simply logging into the app, you can provide evidence of your Covid-19 vaccination or negative test status upon request, the information will be displayed along with a QR code to scan.
The code to prove your vaccination is valid for 30 days from the time you access it or download it as a PDF. After that, you need to update it to get a new version.
A Covid passport secured via a negative test result, meanwhile, only lasts 48 hours before a new version is needed (available in the same easy way).
If for some reason you are unable to use the app you can also check your vaccination status on the NHS website or print a paper version at home before traveling to your destination.
Those who do not have access to online services can also call 119 to request a letter proving their vaccination status instead.
People who cannot be vaccinated or tested for medical reasons can apply to the NHS for an exemption to stand in their place.
More information can be found on the government website.