As COVID-19 vaccinations launch globally, the travel industry is looking for new ways of travel that eliminate quarantine upon arrival. This aims to revive the travel industry from the pandemic as flights resume. Industry leaders aim to roll out “Digital Health Passports” that conveniently allow vaccinated travelers into borders without the need to quarantine.
Some of these vaccine passports are in testing amongst several countries and airlines. For instance, many are testing the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass, while others are currently coming up with their own applications. However, these digital health passports come with some concerns that ensure a viable process and protects user information.
What are Digital Health Passports?
Digital Health Passports are applications downloaded on smartphones to verify and guide users looking to travel. They validate the PCR and vaccine status of travelers via a QR code before they head to their trip. Travel experts are hoping to increase those app’s capacity to be integrated for airlines, offices, and concert venues.
Airline staff and border control will use those apps to verify traveler’s status in relation to COVID-19. Most airlines and airports need proof of negative PCR tests before arrival and take-off; however, travel experts are predicting that digital health passports are the next step for the industry to recover.
Most digital passports are still in the pilot stages due to conflicting opinions of officials and airlines. Furthermore, there are some concerns that these health passports will come as a disadvantage for countries that have limited access to the internet and still operate on official travel documentation.
Which Digital Health Passports are in the works?
There are several digital passports launching across the globe, including The IATA Travel Pass, CommonPass, Daon’s VeriFLY, and more. However, there are still some speculations regarding the mandatory use of these sorts of apps.
The IATA Travel Pass announced its launch in early March and is in the testing phase with 30 airline carriers. CommonPass is backed by the World Economic Forum and has partnered with Amadeus, a Global Distribution System for air travel. It also signed with several airlines including United and British Airways. There are many more digital health passports coming up that are currently testing through airline and country partnerships.
Moreover, several countries announced the launch of their own applications for their population. For instance, China launched a country-wide app that allows travelers to pursue their travel plans without quarantine restrictions. The European Union has also announced that a digital passport is on the rise to act as a stand-alone application for European countries.
It is still too early to confirm the use of these passports across the globe as experts are still speculating their success. Firstly, apps are still in the testing phase for data protection and technicality. Second, there isn’t a unified software for health certification yet, making it hard to standardize this policy across borders. Finally, the integration of these apps for verified health providers and labs is still in process.
What Countries are Digital Health Passports Verified in?
Several countries announced or will soon announce that they will remove quarantine restrictions for travelers who are COVID-19 vaccinated upon presenting proof.
Those countries include Aruba, Estonia, Cyprus, Georgia, Iceland, The United States, Thailand, Seychelles, Poland, Romania, and more. However, some countries limit this policy to areas based on their pandemic status. Cyprus, for example, is yet to feature this policy to Americans, who are not allowed to visit at the time this blog was written, due to the national COVID-19 status.
Several airlines and countries are implementing different travel policies in regards to COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, be sure to check those out before heading on your trip!
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