The UK government plans to provide the rather dystopian-sounding digital “freedom passes” to people who test negative for COVID twice in a week. The plan is an attempt to “allow” people a shot at a “normal life” before a vaccine becomes available.
The government is still working on the plan. Once it comes into effect, people who test negative for COVID will be given a document that will allow them to move around in public with no issue. People who earn the pass will be allowed to move about mask-less and even attend social gatherings with friends and family without having to observe social distancing.
According to sources, the “freedom pass” could be stored in smartphones.
“They will allow someone to wander down the streets, and if someone else asks why they are not wearing a mask, they can show the card, letter, or an app,” a source close to the issue told The Telegraph.
However, according to former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, for the plan to work, the government will have to encourage people to go for testing. Hunt, who previously suggested such a plan, said the government should offer incentives for people to get tested.
He referred to Slovakia, which has already implemented a mass testing program, where those who tested negative were given a certificate that allowed them to ignore lockdown rules.
“In Slovakia, they gave those with negative results a certificate that released them from curfew and allowed them to go out, shop, and go to work. This meant 97 percent of the eligible population was tested,” Hunt said.
He added, “We should do the same in the UK, using the NHS COVID-19 app to record who has been tested and who has received the vaccine.
Additionally, for the “freedom passes” plan to work, the government would have to increase its daily testing capabilities.
Currently, the government tests 500,000 people per day. It would have to test millions per day to be able to test the entire population in a week.
Having to get tested weekly and having to carry around a document to be let out of the house is not most people’s idea of freedom.