Friday, May 28, 2021

Travelling abroad? You may need a COVID vaccine passport

As nations prepare to open borders to international travellers, anticipating deeper global vaccination reach and a subsiding virus, the idea of COVID vaccine passport is gaining ground.

Governments are expecting travellers to provide proof of vaccination or a COVID negative report, before letting them in. The question is what will that proof be and how can technology assist or not assist in easing the process.

The world, especially the US, has been on the forefront of opening up economic and social activities after nearly 50% of its population received at least one COVID vaccine dose. The European Union (EU) too has decided it will allow vaccinated people to travel inside member countries. As a result, not just travel, but other economic activities like eating out, recreation, sporting events too have restarted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) of US has gone to the extent of saying that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks and can venture out with ease.

The threat of COVID reappearing is palpable though, which has made the authorities in these countries to put a mechanism in place to check people for their vaccination and infection status.

As a step in this direction, US Federal officials have made it mandatory for US-bound international travelers to show proof of a negative COVID test result to board flights.

The US Department of Homeland Security stated that it does not want passengers’ COVID test results, but would expect airlines to bring up a check-up mechanism.

With the responsibility of checking passengers’ health records passed on to them, airlines companies, in turn, are asking passengers to upload health documents online.

Most governments the world over are issuing certificates to vaccinated people. Airlines won’t expect their staffers to have another traveler document to check. Therefore, such digitized health documents, which can be scanned easily, would come in handy.

28/05/21 The Federal

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