Venues such as restaurants, bars and pubs are to be encouraged to use Covid health passports as a key part of moves to not just open up the economy for a short burst, but enable it to stay open longer term.
While cases of the Delta variant are surging in England, with predictions they might hit 100,000 a day by mid-August, the vaccination programme has significantly weakened the link between getting ill and hospitalisations and deaths.
This has given the government the confidence to drop mandatory restrictions from Monday, July 19 – so-called Freedom Day – moving instead to a system of personal responsibility where people and businesses protect themselves and their livelihoods as best they see fit.
Covid passports, or health passes, used in pubs, for example, as evidence of vaccination or a recent negative PCR test, would enable landlords to allow more people in, maximising profits and the amount of people able to enjoy a pre-pandemic-style night out, while minimising risk to all, including their staff.
Equally, offices and factories could use health passes to monitor workforce health regularly and anonymously, building confidence that as many steps as possible are being taken to keep staff safe and virus-free while operating virtually as normal.
This balancing of risk as society learns to live with the virus will involve different strategies and solutions. With growing alarm over the ‘pingdemic’ caused by the NHS app notifying tens of thousands of users who have been in contact with a covid case to isolate, the manufacturing, retail and hospitality industries, in particular, are keen to explore and embrace alternative solutions which isolate staff who have the virus, but do not cause so much disruption among their colleagues who do not, enabling their businesses to keep functioning.
All of this makes the revival of the concept of health passes, such as Consentry, which is powered by digi.me, not just more likely but downright essential to keep the economy open as much as possible.
The vaccine is a powerful tool in our societies literally learning to live with the virus, but health passes will be an increasingly important part of how those societies not just survive but thrive, enabling businesses to stay open while fulfilling duties of care to keep staff as safe as possible.
The future is freer but powered by caution – and enabled by forward thinking technology.
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