Covid 'freedom pass' may exempt people from lockdown rules - how it could work

Hope of a return to normal life after the coronavirus outbreak has steadily begun to build over recent weeks.

Following encouraging efficacy results for three vaccines in late trial stages, Boris Johnson confirmed the national lockdown would end on 2 December.

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The prime minister also announced a winter Covid plan to come into effect after the second lockdown expires, which will see the reopening of shops, gyms and some pubs.

Mr Johnson believes a more localised approach to combating the spread of the virus through a three tier alert system will serve the country better ahead of the festive season.

This system is set to be carried out in the early part of next year too as the vaccine programme is rolled out, with spring being earmarked as a return to normal life without so many restrictions.

Increased testing - along with effective vaccines - between now and then will play a key part in the government’s plan, with reports emerging of people being issued a ‘freedom pass’.

What is a ‘freedom pass’?

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In an attempt to bring back some normality between now and the mass rollout of an effective vaccine, the government is exploring the introduction of ‘freedom passes’, according to reports.

The special pass is said to be issued to someone living in the UK who can prove they’ve been regularly tested and have recorded two negative tests in the last seven days.

Passes could be introduced as early as January, as the government looks to reopen society.

How could a ‘freedom pass’ work?

If passes are issued then they are almost certainly going to be done so electronically, with a QR code being rumoured to be a suitable solution.

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Venues would then have to scan the QR code on the point of entry to allow or deny access depending on your Covid test results.

It would require millions of tests to be available and taken up by the population every day across the country.

Has it got any support in the walls of Whitehall?

Reports in The Sun claim former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has given the “ambitious proposal” his backing.

The report continues: “He has already said he backs "offering people who comply with testing and isolation requirements a 'freedom pass' that removes the requirement to follow lockdown regulations".

“And he has been urging the Government to give people a nudge to be tested by allowing them “to go out, shop and go to work” if given the all clear.”