Europe

UK's Johnson scraps vaccine passport plan

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson will scrap a vaccine passport plan and end other pandemic emergency powers, Reuters reported Sunday ahead of his planned speech Tuesday outlining the government's management of COVID-19. 

"These extraordinary times required necessary but intrusive measures. But I'm determined to get rid of any powers we no longer need because of our vaccine defenses," Johnson said in a statement. 

Health Minister Sajid Javid told various British media that he did not expect the government to move forward with the passport plan or institute additional lockdowns, despite a rise in cases over the past two months. 

"Now that we're entering autumn and winter ... the prime minister this week will be setting out our plans to manage COVID over the coming few months, and in that we will be making it clear that our vaccine program is working," Javid said. 

The government is planning to introduce a vaccine booster program later this month, according to Reuters. 

Johnson and his Conservative Party are facing criticism for raising taxes to help counter the social and health crises spurred by the pandemic.  

The Labour Party signaled its tentative support for Johnson withdrawing some emergency measures but warned of a difficult winter for the National Health Service (NHS).

"We know that winter is going to be difficult. The NHS are fearing the worst winter in living memory. We know we're going to have more flu, respiratory problems," Labour's health policy chief, Jonathan Ashworth, said in a radio interview. "So we need to prepare our NHS for the winter."

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