People who have been vaccinated for Covid could soon be given more freedom to travel, with a new ‘vaccine passport’ app due to be ready “within weeks”.
The digital pass, developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), will allow border agencies to verify that air passengers have received their Covid jabs by approved authorities, and could potentially aid the widespread resumption of international travel.
IATA also confirmed earlier this month that it is in talks with the UK government about creating a prototype app for certifying vaccinated travellers, which could replace current travel restrictions such as triple testing of passengers, quarantine hotels, and ten-day mandatory quarantine.
Addressing the House of Commons yesterday, Boris Johnson confirmed that the current measures will remain in place until mid-May, pending a review led by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, although numerous travel firms have nevertheless reported a surge in domestic and foreign holiday bookings off the back of his post-lockdown ‘road map’.
The news has been welcomed by struggling airlines, several of which, including Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, are currently conducting trials with the pass, which will be available on Android and iOS platforms, and will be “modular” so it can be adapted to match each country’s entry requirements.
“The key issue is one of confidence,” said Vinoop Goel, IATA’s regional director of airports and external relations.
“Passengers need to be confident that the testing they’ve taken is accurate and will allow them to enter the country. And then governments need to have the confidence that the tests that the passengers claim to have is one which is accurate and meets their own conditions.”
“We are currently working with a number of airlines worldwide and learning from these pilots. And the plan is to go live in March,” said Mr Goel.
“So basically we expect to have a fully functional working system over the next few weeks.”
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