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The government is exploring the idea of documentation that would allow travellers to prove they have been vaccinated against coronavirus, the Foreign Office minister James Cleverly has said.
Boris Johnson’s spokesperson had previously denied there were any plans for “vaccine passports” – but officials have now been asked to look at how people could comply with the requirements of some foreign governments for a vaccination before travel.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Cleverly said: “It is often the case that the entry requirements for countries [include] vaccines and inoculations – that is not an uncommon practice. We will work with international partners to help facilitate their border arrangements and immigration requirements.”
Greece is among the holiday hotspots that have suggested they would be willing to welcome tourists if they can show they have been inoculated.
Government officials insisted the UK’s proposals were at an early stage, and stressed that with strict lockdown rules still in place, travelling for a holiday was not currently allowed.
Asked about the idea on Friday, the prime minister’s spokesperson said: “There are still no plans to roll out vaccine passports. At the moment, going on holiday is illegal – but we will keep the situation under review.”
Arrivals from all countries to the UK currently have to quarantine for up to 10 days, and many in the government expect these rules to have to remain in place for an extended period, to avoid a resurgence in the virus just as the vaccination programme takes effect.
Ministers have repeatedly declined to say whether they believe holidays abroad are likely to be possible this summer. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has told the public they can expect a “great and free British summer”, disclosing that he has booked a stay in Cornwall.
Denmark and Sweden are already working on plans for some form of digital certification for vaccination, and discussions are under way about an EU-wide certification scheme.
The European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, backed the idea in January of using certificates to identify people who have had the jab, but added: “Whether that gives a priority or access to certain goods, this is a political and legal decision that has to be discussed on the European level.”
Some travel companies have already made vaccines compulsory. Saga requires its cruise passengers to have had both doses of the vaccine at least 14 days before departure.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: UK ministers look into Covid ‘vaccine passport’ idea | World news