UK Covid live news: Labour hardens opposition to 'digital ID card' Covid passports plan

Latest updates: Labour scepticism over Covid-status certificates intensifies, meaning government may lose vote in Commons on issue

Last night Sage, the government’s Scientific Advisory Committee for Emergencies, published a report (pdf) setting out what the modelling suggests will happen when the UK opens up in line with the timetable set out in the PM’s roadmap. It says it is “highly likely” that there will be a third wave. It explains (bold type from the original):

It is highly likely that there will be a further resurgence in hospitalisations and deaths after the later steps of the roadmap. The scale, shape, and timing of any resurgence remain highly uncertain; in most scenarios modelled, any peak is smaller than the wave seen in January 2021, however, scenarios with little transmission reduction after step 4 or with pessimistic but plausible vaccine efficacy assumptions can result in resurgences in hospitalisations of a similar scale to January 2021.

It really just depends upon the impact of vaccination, particularly on transmission, so whether or not people can get infected and pass the virus on. And we just don’t know that. The vaccine hasn’t been around in people in the real world ... only in December it started ... so we don’t know what effect it’s going to have in three, four months’ time and that’s the real unknown. It’s a question of genuine uncertainty.

The only thing we can be sure of is that we don’t know exactly what is going to happen but we do know that, because the vaccine isn’t 100% effective, there will be some transmission, and there will be some breakthrough of immunity.

In its interim report from the global travel taskforce (pdf) published last night, the government confirmed it would create a “green” category of countries, and that people arriving from these places would not be subject to hotel quarantine (which applies to arrivals from “red” countries) or quarantine at home (the rule for what are now dubbed “amber” countries). But arrivals from “green” countries will still be subject to pre-departure and post-arrival tests.

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, told BBC Breakfast this morning that this meant international travel would only reopen “for people who can afford it”.

I don’t think that is fair, I don’t think it’s right, and I don’t think it is necessarily established from a medical and scientific point of view that is the right thing to do.

If they choose, however, to go down that route to have the tests in place, it should be the same type of testing, the lateral flow testing, which is much cheaper, more accessible, that is being used to open up the domestic sector as an example.

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