In other words, if you are one of the ‘global elite’ (or a British MP) the rules go out of the window. On Tuesday, the UK Government reintroduced quarantine-free travel for senior executives. According to The Telegraph, the rules will only apply to companies with hundreds of workers. The UK government is in talks with UEFA and FIFA to exempt 2,500 VIPs and officials from the need to quarantine when they travel to Britain for the final of the Euros on 11 July. This has nothing to do with the fact that UEFA and FIFA threatened to take the final away from Wembley stadium and move it to Rome.
As I write this, little has been said about the fans, but just wait, there will probably be a ‘deal’ for them as well. You could speculate that Boris wants to see the final from the comfort of Wembley’s royal box on 11 July, rubbing shoulders with the football elite. In addition to the 2,500 VIP’s an unspecified number of UEFA sponsors, football officials and broadcasters are likely to be given exemptions from the usual ten-day quarantine requirements.
Then of course we hear that 140,000 fans have been authorised to attend next month’s grand prix at Silverstone. That’s 140,000 people shoulder to shoulder in ideal conditions to pass on Covid. Even Luis Hamilton is questioning the wisdom of this decision.
Portugal adopts vaccine passport or obligatory quarantine
From Monday, 28 June, in order to enter mainland Portugal without the need to quarantine, you must show proof that you have been vaccinated, both jabs (unless you received a single jab vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson). Portugal has confirmed that children under the age of 18 will not have to quarantine on arrival, so long as they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent or guardian, but they must be able to show evidence of a recent negative Covid test. People in England can request an NHS Covid Pass via the NHS website or the NHS app… Note, this is different to the NHS Covid-19 app, which is used for contact tracing. You must be registered with a GP surgery to use the NHS app. Once logged in you can request an NHS Covid Pass. The system will generate a QR code, which lasts for 28 days. You can download a PDF copy or have it emailed to you.
This is in line with the EU the EU Covid-19 Vaccine Passport/Certificate, a one-piece document that can be issued to a traveller in both a paper and digital format. Holding such a document you will be able to travel throughout Europe without the need to quarantine or test for Covid-19. This was scheduled to be in place by 1 July 1, so Portugal is ahead of the game and has been issuing vaccine ‘passports’ for the last couple of weeks.
Probably most of us understand this decision, even though we might not like it. Portugal is suffering a worsening of the situation, especially in the Lisbon area despite the excellent vaccine programme and vaccine centres everywhere. One of the main reasons, a shortage of vaccinations being supplied by the EU. Why is that, you know the answer, the EU botched the procurement of the vaccines. Still in defensive and blame mode, the EU took AstraZeneca to court a couple of weeks ago claiming they had failed to fulfil their contact.
The company acknowledged its agreement with the EU allowed the option of supplying Europe from UK sites, but only once the UK had sufficient supplies. The full details of the company's deals with the UK and the EU have not been made public. The court ruled, "All other measures sought by the European Commission have been dismissed, and in particular the Court found that the European Commission has no exclusivity or right of priority over all other contracting parties."
A report, published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) last week, suggested a poor early response to the health crisis and the stuttering EU vaccine rollout had dealt a blow to confidence in the union’s capabilities. Majorities in France (62 percent), Italy (57 percent), Germany (55 percent), Spain (52 percent) and Austria (51 percent) described the EU project as “broken”.
Veronique Trillet-Lenoir told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that discussions were ongoing about taking a "harmonised" approach to travel rules with "third countries" such as the UK. In other words, if you are not in the EU you are out and will be victimised at every opportunity.
Ms Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are failing in enforcing their own agenda to make everyone quarantine irrespective of whether they are vaccinated or not. According to The Times, a "British government source" said Merkel looked "increasingly isolated", adding: "A lot of countries will think it’s their own decision and not one to be decided in Berlin." Fortunately, the official EU policy of vaccination passport is seemingly being adopted by almost everyone, except the UK, but perhaps the new Health Secretary will prove to be a more reasonable than Matt Hancock.
Can vaccinated people still infect others?
This is a question being asked by many people. Vaccines have been proven to prevent serious infection, and studies that show a reduction in transmission are building, but they aren't fool proof. A recent study by Public Health England found that a single dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccine reduced household transmission by up to half. Preliminary scientific research also seems to suggest the Covid-19 vaccines make it less likely someone who’s vaccinated will transmit the coronavirus, but the proof is not yet ironclad.
The EU Vaccine passport plan is a logical approach to living with Covid. It’s not perfect as there are people who do not want, or for medical reasons can’t, receive the vaccine, but until Covid is really under control, we will need to live with this project.
The problem is that the UK won’t (yet) accept its own citizens returning from holiday WITH a vaccine passport or certificate. As I said earlier in this article, it seems that Boris will make exceptions when it suits him, but not for returning UK holiday makers. Do I sense an agenda?
The total amount spent by UK holidaymakers on visits abroad came to around 43.4 billion sterling in 2019. The majority of spending is on holiday travel to destinations in Europe. It’s the most powerful market for European holiday destinations.
It seems clear that Boris and Co do not want UK citizens to go on holiday, they want to keep the money at home. While pretending to give clarity and clear decisions, what we get is as clear as mud. Those who want to take a summer holiday in the sun are confused, the travel industry is in despair.
An unnamed British MP said “the UK has become 'Boris Johnson’s prison island'