Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that England will use the existing NHS app as a vaccine passport for travel overseas.
Speaking to Sky News this morning, Shapps revealed that the NHS app which is used to book general appointments (not to be confused with the one currently being used to check-in to venues for contact tracing) will be able to store negative test results and vaccine certification.
“It will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show that you’ve had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing, and I’m working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that the system can be internationally recognised.”
Shapps will also be chairing a G7 meeting on the subject next week.
The idea to convert the NHS app into a digital health passport was discussed earlier this year following the publication of the easing of lockdown measures in England.
International travel is set to resume on May 17 at the earliest, with the introduction of a ‘traffic light’ scheme to rank destinations. Shapps also confirmed that countries on the ‘green list’ will be revealed “in the next couple of weeks”. People who travel to these countries will not need to quarantine upon return to the UK, though they will still need to take a pre-departure test and a test once they return.
Meanwhile, airports and airlines have called for the EU Digital Green Certificates to begin being issued “by the end of June at the very latest”. The proposals for a certificate to facilitate free movement within the EU were unveiled in March, and last week France became the first EU country to introduce a digital travel certificate, with trials of the TousAntiCovid app.
Spain’s Tourism Minister Fernando Valdes Verelst announced at the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Global Summit that Spain would be ready to use the digital certificate in June to welcome visitors from abroad. He added that a pilot programme will take place in May at all 46 Spanish airports.
For further information on the Global Summit, see our report here:
And for a look at the pros and cons of “vaccine passports”, and the different options being developed, see our recent features: