Covid Passports Around the World
Countries, including Australia, are deciding whether to implement Covid passports to allow people to attend events and travel. As time goes on, more countries are considering turning to Covid passports as a way of opening up and letting people travel. These passports are usually accessed via an app on your phone or in some cases, paper versions are available.
Some nations have already installed their own versions of a Covid passport which has allowed people to attend large scale events. But with some countries lagging with vaccinations, there is concern that some could be left behind.
Here’s how a range of countries have adapted vaccine passports and what they involve.
Currently, “higher risk” settings such as nightclubs don’t have to ask for proof of vaccination although Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans “to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather” by the end of September. Under these new measures, people would show proof of vaccination by using the NHS Covid Pass app in England.
The NHS Covid Pass will also allow fully vaccinated adults to avoid quarantine when they return from most amber-list countries.
According to the government, more than 30 countries, including Greece and Spain now accept the pass.
An EU vaccine “passport” is being introduced across all twenty-seven member nations – plus Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.
It is also available to non-EU nationals living legally in member states who have the right to travel to other member states.
Anyone holding the certificate should be exempt from testing or quarantining when crossing a border within the EU. Other EU nations also have their own certificate or vaccine passport.
Authorities have set up a health pass that will allow people to access restaurants, bars, planes and trains.
At present, venues that accommodate more than 50 people already require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test.
The pass will be required by all adults from the beginning of August and include children over the age of 12 from 30 September.
To obtain the pass, people must have proof they are fully vaccinated, recently tested negative or recently recovered from the virus.
Israel introduced a vaccine pass earlier this year. It required people to show proof of either vaccination or having recently had the virus. The pass helped increase uptake of the vaccine, especially among younger people.
After infection rates declined, authorities decided to end the scheme.
But the government has now announced plans to reinstate the system amid a recent surge in cases.
The green pass system will only allow those over the age of 12 who are vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19 or who present a negative test result to attend large events and enter certain public spaces.
The pass will apply to cultural and sporting events, gyms, restaurants and dining halls, conferences, tourist attractions and places of worship.
China introduced a QR code system last year which categorized people into different colours. A green colour allows people to move around without restrictions while someone with a yellow code may be asked to stay at home for seven days.
Many public spaces in China require people to show their QR code in order to gain entry. In March, China launched a digital health certificate that shows the holder’s vaccine status and test results. The certificate is available to foreigners in China as well as Chinese nationals. It is hoped that Chinese citizens will be able to use the certificate as a vaccine passport in other countries in future. A green QR code allows people to gain access to a range of public spaces
In April, the White House ruled out introducing mandatory federal Covid vaccination passports, saying citizens’ privacy and rights should be protected. However, four states have active vaccination apps, according to MIT Technology Review.
But some states have also opted to introduce their own measures to try to increase vaccination rates.
California will require all state employees and health care workers to show proof of vaccination or be tested weekly from next month. New York City will adopt a similar measure from mid-September requiring its municipal workers – including police officers and teachers – to be vaccinated or face weekly tests.
At present, inoculated Australians have a digital certificate on their phones but it has no rights attached to it. However, just this week the Prime Minister has stated that employers do have the right to refuse unvaccinated people entry to their businesses.
Qantas is preparing to resume international flights to North America, the UK and parts of Asia from December in the expectation Australia’s vaccination rate will allow borders to reopen by then. However, Qantas has indicated that passengers must have proof of vaccination.
The Federal Government has indicated that a vaccine passport could give people the right to be able to travel across borders when there are lockdowns, or if there are parts of a state which have been locked down, because of an outbreak.
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