LONDON (REUTERS) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday (July 19) that he would make proof of double vaccination a condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gathered from the end of September.
"I can serve notice now that by the end of September when all over 18s will have had their chance to be double jabbed, we're planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather,"Johnson said.
"Proof of a negative test will no longer be enough."
Johnson's 'freedom day' on Monday ending over a year of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in England was marred by surging infections, warnings of supermarket shortages and his own forced self-isolation.
Johnson's bet that he can get one of Europe's largest economies firing again because so many people are now vaccinated marks a new chapter in the global response to the coronavirus.
If the vaccines prove effective in reducing severe illness and deaths even while infections reach record levels, Johnson's decision could offer a path out of the worst public health crisis in decades. If not, more lockdowns could loom.
Britain recorded 39,950 new coronavirus infections on Monday, and 19 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official government data showed. That compared to 48,161 cases and 25 deaths reported a day earlier.
Britain has the seventh highest death toll in the world, 128,708, and is forecast to soon have more new infections each day than it did at the height of a second wave of the virus earlier this year.
But, outstripping European peers, 87 per cent of Britain's adult population has had one vaccination dose, and more than 68 per cent have had the two doses which provide fuller protection.
Daily deaths, currently at around 40 per day, are just a fraction of a peak of above 1,800 seen in January.