Politics

Vaccine Passports – the for and the against

It’s strange to think that as a society, we are going to have to provide a vaccination passport to endure our personal freedoms.

 

To stop the spread of COVID-19, and the deaths of loved ones, the world has turned its reliance towards a heavily studies vaccine.

 

But is there a price to pay? Is it right for our personal freedoms to be put at stake? 

 

Many countries around the globe are introducing vaccine passports, that will be mandatory for everyday living activities. In countries like the United Kingdom, Italy, and France, they have already been implemented.

 

All three countries require an individual to have two shots of the vaccine to travel abroad, or to have a negative PCR test. In addition, France mandates people to have the vaccine or a negative PCR test to visit a venue with more than 50 people. These venues include cafes, bars, and restaurants (or any venue with more than 50 people). Also, from September the British will require two jabs of a negative test to enter a nightclub.

 

The one thing these restrictions have caused is for society to divide – like religion and politics, these requirements have divided people over their personal beliefs. 

 

Is taking the vaccine for public safety the right thing to do? Or is having the choice to take it and not be restricted morally correct? 

 

The For 

 

From a survey of 6000 Italians, French, Germans, and Brits, all but Germany were in favour of vaccine passports for travel. Moreover, seven out of ten Britons were in favour of vaccine passports to travel, making the United Kingdom the most favoured country.

 

Of course, the main reason is to protect society, as the vaccine reduces chances of the virus mutating.

 

Also, the Guardian explains other reasons for the mandatory vaccines being to reopen the borders safely without fear of the virus, and for opportunities including work. The world has stalled, and by “getting a certificate, some individuals who have been deprived of access to certain work opportunities by the pandemic could benefit”. 

 

 

The Against 

 

World Wide Demonstration is an organisation that is “devoted to emboldening citizens to push back against Coronavirus related Restrictions in their countries”, and demonstrations have taken part in 180 cities globally. The reasoning for the protests are because people believe civil liberties and human rights are at risk.

 

According to the demonstration’s website, freedom of movement and health and liberties such as privacy are at stake due to mandatory vaccines.

 

Moreover, Liberty, an independent organisation that ” challenges injustice, defends freedom and campaigns to make sure everyone in the UK is treated fairly” has explained that the introduction of vaccine passports will “undermine relationships, seeding distrust and division”. The campaign further explains that mandatory vaccines are a “by-product of the failings of this Government’s entire pandemic response”.

 

We recognize that both sides are just as equally valid, but what do you think?

8 months later, is BREXIT a working-class mistake?

Do you remember Brexit?

Do you remember the constant media coverage? The family arguments over leave or remain? The political moment that taken down two prime ministers. 

I would be surprised if you do not. But since we now live in a pandemic, the media chooses to constantly report COVID-19 instead.

If you think Brexit is a thing of the past, you are wrong.

Over eight months have passed since the United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU), and during those nine months, many sectors of the British economy have found themselves unprepared.

And those sectors happen to be predominantly working-class sectors.

But what does this mean?

The Financial Times report that since Britain left the EU, almost a third of British companies that trade with the EU have suffered a decline or loss of business. Moreover, combining Brexit and the pandemic, thinktank claims that Britain’s economy is on track to suffer more than £700bn.

People often shrug the idea of the country losing more than £700 billion. But realistically, it will collectively affect us in some way. And there is a high chance it will affect working-class people the most.

To start with, why is the economy important?

Scholar Devi Parameswari explains that the economy can help improve living standards, therefore making society a better place. According to the researcher, the economy is used towards institutions like science that “improves living standards. It partly depends on the priorities of society and what we consider most important”.

So now we know that the economy is important, what sectors will be hit the most?

The combination of Brexit and COVID-19 will affect the British one way or another. Investopedia has reported the “few winners” and the “many losers” of Brexit, and they suggest the fishing industry, and the food and agricultural sector – sectors that many working-class people work in – are two of the many losers of BREXIT. 

Nevertheless, the surprising winners of the Brexit vote are UK and EU manufacturing of specialised machine parts, the mining industry (that  professionals argue is unsustainable for the environment), and of course, US bankers.

What does this mean?

From the evidence suggesting which sectors will be hit the most, it is clear that working-class people will be affected the most. Intriguingly, statistics show that working-class men would be hit the most from Brexit. Yet statistics also show that 64% of the working class, and 55% of men voted for leave.

And with sectors such as the fishing industry – a predominantly working-class industry – having been “sold out”, was Brexit a working-class mistake? Or was it a plan?

According to the London Economic, the fishing industry is “worth <£500 million to UK GDP (or 0.1 percent, 0.02 per cent of GDP)”. The organisation further explains that since the industry has “no money with which [the tories has] to lobby… it was logical that the Tories wouldn’t care about fishing”.

Moreover, with the agricultural sector bringing 0.6% of GDP, do the politicians care about the farmers – with 56% of them voting to leave. Although the idea of making free trade deals, and receiving food from other countries is apparent. Yet, the working class will be the ones eating American chlorinated or hormone-pumped meat as they may not be able to afford food from the EU.

Although Thinktank reports that the economy is expected to grow by 5.7% this year and to recover its pre-pandemic level at the end of 2022, the working class must prepare themselves for the real disaster – Brexit.

A British man has been arrested in Germany, accused of Spying

A man from Briton has been arrested in Germany, in which he has been accused of spying for Russia.

Published on the German Office of the Federal Prosecutor website, the report accords that the man is called David S.

The man was a former worker for the British embassy based in Berlin.

London Metropolitan Police have also confirmed the arrest, which their website claims the man “commit[ed]Ing offences relating to being engaged in ‘Intelligence Agent activity’ (under German law)”.

Moreover, the report also states that he was arrested in Postdam – a city on the border of Berlin – as the 57-year-old lives there.

His house was also raided by German officials.

Nevertheless, the act to arrest the man was a joint British-German decision.

 

 

 

 

The report claims that on one occasion, the man transmitted documents of “professional activity” to a “representative of Russian Intelligence service”, which as a result the accused received cash.

The BBC explain that tensions between Russia and both the UK and Germany are “strained after several high-profile incidents”.

These incidents included incidents like the 2018 Novichok poisoning in the city of Salisbury and the poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny who had to be treated in Germany.

Novichok means “newcomer” in Russian and Is an umbrella term of a number of “nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s”.

[Image is owned by canadastock and was purchased from Shutterstock]

 

Quarantine to be dropped for double vaccinated

People who have been double vaccinated, and have travelled to a country from the amber list will no longer have to quarantine.

The Sun and the Times have both reported that ministers are due to meet tomorrow to sign off the policy, with the policy being effective by the 19th July.

This is in response to the prime minister stating at the Downing Street press conference on Monday that the government will “work with the travel industry towards removing the need for fully vaccinated arrivals to isolate on return from an amber country”.

According to the UK government website, here are the current rules if you have travelled to a country on the amber list:

Before traveling to England:

 

  • take a COVID-19 test
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests – to be taken after arrival in England
  • complete a passenger locator form

On arrival in England:

 

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8
  • Read about quarantine and taking COVID-19 tests
  • Children aged 4 and under do not need to take the day 2 or day 8 test
  • You may be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme.

If you have also been in or through a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you must follow the red list rules.

 

Picture is owned by NIAID and is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Pfizer vaccine less effective against Delta variant, according to study in Israel

A study in Israel has explained that BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine appears to be less effective at preventing COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant.

YNET news – an Israeli news organisation – has stated that according to the Israeli ministry of health the vaccine is less effective against coronavirus infection rates.

“The effectiveness of the vaccine against infection has dropped to 64% in the past month, against the background of the spread of the Delta strain and the cancellation of restrictions”.

However, the data suggests that the vaccine is still extremely effective in hospitalization rates. Between the 2nd of May and the 5th of June, the vaccine was 98 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations.

Moreover, according to POLITICO, this data is also supported by UK data, as they stated: “The vaccines are less effective at preventing infections with the Delta variant, but that they remain effective at preventing severe disease”.

Public Health England has further explained that one dose of the vaccines provides between 55 to 70 percent efficacy, and two provide 65 to 90 percent.

Picture is owned by NIAID and is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The world’s most peaceful countries revealed

A report from the Institute for Economics & Peace has revealed the most peaceful countries to live in during the year 2021.

The report measures peace through three domains are Safety and Security, Ongoing Conflict, and Militarisation.

Overall, the report claims that the “level of global peacefulness deteriorated by 0.07 percent” being the “ninth time in the last 13 years that global peacefulness has deteriorated”.

European countries dominate the top 30, with Iceland being placed first on the list for the thirteenth time consecutively. The report explains that “no country in Europe is ranked outside the top half of the index”.

On the index, the United Kingdom is placed 33 on the list. Although lower than other European countries, this is an improvement from last year’s report where the country was placed 39.

The report states that Poland recorded the largest improvement placing 24th on the list, due to improvements in violent crime, violent demonstrations, and political terror. However, this has come as a surprise for some people as the country has seen a significant rise in anti-LGBT+ policies such as ‘anti-LGBT zones’.

The United States remains at ranking 122 on the list, which is now the lowest since 2008 due to “an increase in civil unrest that led to violent demonstrations and a rise in political instability”.

The country lowest on the list is Afghanistan, which reflects ” the Middle East…[remaining] the world’s least peaceful region”.

 

 

[Image is owned by Kamil Porembiński and is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0]

Travel list to be updated today in House of Commons

Holidaymakers are set to find out if more countries are to be added to the green list or moved to the amber or red list.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps is set to announce the changes in the house of commons later on today.

Currently, there are only 11 countries that are on the green list – all being non-European countries.

Moreover, there are 167 countries on the amber list which once returned from any country from this list, you must quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days. You may be able to end quarantine early through the Test to Release scheme if you pay for a private COVID-19 test.

This comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel during Thursday’s summit with EU leaders expressed that all British travellers who travel to European Union countries should be placed into quarantine.

“In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see”.

The chancellor expressed her concern over the COVID-19 cases rising in Portugal – a country that does not require British travellers to isolate.

“We now have a situation in Portugal that could perhaps have been avoided, and that’s why we have to work even harder on this”.

Moreover, other countries that allow British travellers to travel without restrictions include Spain, and France for those who have had two COVID vaccines.

Government planning quarantine free travel for double vaccinated people from August

The Health Secretary has stated that the government is planning quarantine free travel for double vaccinated people.

This means that citizens who have had both vaccines may be able to travel to countries on the amber list, according to the Health Secretary.

Matt Hancock told Sky News that the government “are working on” plans to let fully vaccinated individuals travel freely with no need to quarantine.

“We are working on plans to essentially allow the vaccine to bring back some of the freedoms that have had to be restricted to keep people safe”.

Currently, there are only 11 countries that are on the green list – all being non-European countries.

Moreover, there are 167 countries on the amber list which once returned from any country from this list, you must quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days. You may be able to end quarantine early through the Test to Release scheme if you pay for a private COVID-19 test.

His comments come from the Times reported that the government is going to announce the change to the nation’s travel restrictions as soon as possible and that people will not need to quarantine from August.