Brits Will Be Offered Freedom Pass In Exchange For Frequent Testing Next Month
Brits could no longer have to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone with coronavirus, in exchange for frequent testing.
The so-called ‘freedom pass’ means that as long as a person tests negative for COVID-19 twice, they won’t be forced to isolate after coming into contact with the virus.
The scheme comes as part of the government’s Winter Plan, and will replace the national lockdown which is currently in place until December 2. Freedom passes will first be offered to ‘institutional settings,’ such as schools and hospitals, before it is offered nation wide in early 2021, as per Metro.
It’s reported that areas of the UK under the government’s strictest tier 3 restrictions could be offered the freedom passes before other parts of the country.
During a press conference on Monday, November 23, Boris Johnson admitted that the ‘untried’ system has many ‘unknowns,’ but vowed that ‘we should be able to offer those who test negative the prospect of fewer restrictions.’
The mass testing will be carried out using lateral-flow tests, which offer results as soon as 20 minutes later, however they less effective than lab testing, with an estimated 76.8% accuracy.
In Liverpool, mass testing is already underway, with the PM claiming that the scheme was ‘contributing to a very substantial fall in infection.’
More than 200,000 people have been involved in the trial, as Johnson promises that ‘those towns and regions which engage in community testing will have a much greater chance of easing the rules, the tiering, that they currently endure,’ Forbes reports.
The news came as the government announced that the UK would head back into its three-tier system once national lockdown in England ends in a week’s time. Non-essential shops and gyms will be allowed to re-open, however pubs and restaurants will still be subject to restrictions, depending on which tier they’re in.
Under tier 3, pubs, restaurants and cafes will only be able to operate under takeaway and delivery services. Meanwhile, in tier 2, hospitality venues will only be allowed to serve alcohol with a ‘substantial meal,’ and visitors will only be able to attend with people they live with. Under tier 1, groups of up to six can gather in pubs, bars cafes and restaurants.
The government also announced plans to reopen sports stadiums at the end of lockdown, with a maximum of 4,000 people allowed to attend outdoor events in tier 1 areas, with that number reducing to 2,000 fans in tier 2 areas.
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Topics: News, Boris Johnson, lockdown, Now