The UK’s domestic ‘Covid passports’ plan won’t be confirmed until June 7 at the earliest, a top Cabinet minister confirmed today.
Michael Gove admitted there are still “significant outstanding factors” to work through, despite the NHS app already being re-worked to let Brits show their vaccine status.
He hinted all or part of the system might not be ready to launch in time for Step Four of England’s lockdown roadmap from June 21.
He also said any system that is confirmed will be scrapped after a time limit, telling MPs: “It was always intended to be the case for any form of Covid status certification in the UK that were we to embrace it, it would be for a time-limited period.”
It comes more than three months after the government announced a review into Covid “certification” led by Cabinet Office minister Mr Gove.
Any certification system would likely ask Brits to show one of three things before entering a venue or event – a vaccine; a negative rapid test result that day; or proof of a previous positive Covid test in recent months.
Officials have looked at engineering the NHS app to show these three things, and it already allows people to bring up their vaccine status for international travel.
While pubs are unlikely to be included, certification could be used for getting into ticketed events, nightclubs or the theatre.
Asked when there will be an update, Mr Gove today told the Public Administration Committee he “hopes” to do so after the Commons recess – which ends on June 7.
He added: “We hope to be able to explain what our approach will be when the House of Commons returns.”
But he did not guarantee a decision or policy will be ready in time for Step 4 of England’s roadmap, from June 21 at the earliest.
He told MPs: “People have quite rightly linked Covid status certification to Stage 4.
“There’s no absolute necessary ironclad inviolable link between the two, but naturally as we contemplate reopening at stage four, people will understandably want to know what our approach towards certification will be and how that will operate.”