Covid Plan B: Vaccine certificates raise 'civil liberties issues', warns Norwich MP Clive Lewis

Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South
Credit: ITV News Anglia
Clive Lewis said vaccine passports would not work and raised civil liberties issues Credit: ITV News Anglia

The introduction of so-called vaccine passports is unlikely to have any impact on the spread of coronavirus and raises serious questions over civil liberties, an MP has warned.

Clive Lewis, the Labour MP for Norwich South, was responding to the introduction of the government's Plan B, under which people should work from home where possible, and must wear face masks in enclosed spaces and be able to prove their vaccine status to enter large venues.

From December 15, people will need to present mandatory Covid-status certificates - or Covid passports - to enter some indoor and larger outdoor venues, such as sports venues. They include proof of Covid vaccination or proof of a negative lateral flow test.

Mr Lewis said: "There are civil liberty issues and there are actually issues with them working.

"There's nothing to stop people who have a vaccine passport from spreading the disease to other people and that, in effect, makes them pointless. When you take into account the civil liberties angle, I don't think it's something I could support."

Meanwhile, late-night venues affected by the new restrictions have called for clarity and further support from the government.

Peter Bell, operations director at the Rhythm Room nightclub in Peterborough, called the new policy "wishy-washy" and said venues such as his needed more information.

"My biggest concern is what impact it's going to have on my staff going forward. It's a real worry: are we going to be supported from the government? Are they going to be supported? What will happen?

"We're waiting to speak to the authorities. We just need clarity on a way forward."

Face masks have already been reintroduced in shops and on public transport, and their use will be extended to hospitality venues such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship.

Dawn Hopkins said she was concerned there would be fewer big Christmas gatherings this year Credit: ITV News Anglia

They will not be required in venues "where it is not practical to wear one", meaning that pubs and restaurants will not require them.

Dawn Hopkins, licensee of The Rose in Norwich, and vice chair of the Campaign for Pubs, said she was more concerned about the impact of the restrictions on public confidence and fewer office workers celebrating Christmas.

"There's a worry that people stay away now, and that we won't have the big groups that used to come in over the Christmas period," she said.

"There's also a worry for city-centre pubs that people are being asked to work from home."

At Peterborough Cathedral, worshippers are being asked to wear masks once more - even when singing, and will be live-streaming services for those who do not feel comfortable attending in person.

The Rev Canon Tim Alban Jones, vice dean of the cathedral, said: "We are asking people to book to come to the busier services so that we can keep the right number of people and not exceed the safe limit within the building."

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