So-called ‘Freedom Passports’ could be the solution for members of the public to show they are Covid negative in public spaces. The government is reportedly exploring the possibility of creating a new digital photographic ID.
According to the Daily Mail, government contracts have been awarded to two companies to create apps. These could potentially allow users to display a digital ID through a QR code, which will display the last Covid test the person had, whether the result was positive or negative.
The idea of a digital ID is only “exploratory work,” a Department for Health source reportedly told the Daily Mail, and there are currently no plans to roll out the freedom passports to the public.
The source said, “It is about looking at ways we could use this in future. It is looking at whether it would be possible.”
A £42,000 contract signed with Netcompany UK was revealed in November, along with a proposal for the negative Covid-19 test certification system. Netcompany UK will be creating a simplified app, which is going to help experts determine whether the certification system is an option for 2021.
Another contract, worth £34,000, was handed to the Hub Company.
Under their scheme, individuals would sign up to an app giving them a personal QR code.
A previously rejected proposal
The proposal of Covid vaccine passports for those who have had the vaccine was rejected by ministers over concerns that people without the jab would be unfairly targeted.
New Vaccines Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, ruled out the freedom passes in early December, one week after suggesting it was something ministers were considering. Mr Zahawi said that he “misspoke” in suggesting the public might need one to enter gigs and sports events.
He added, “The absolute focus is to make sure we vaccinate the nine categories the joint committee stipulated.
“Because actually the most important thing, ultimately, is to vaccinate the people who are at highest risk of death from this virus. The sooner we do it the sooner we can get back to normal life.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said, “We’ve been clear there are no plans to introduce immunity passports.”