As the world continues to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and steps closer to international travel returning, questions are being raised as to what travel requirements will be, moving forwards.
Vaccines are set to be rolled out in Australia over the next nine months, meaning international travel could potentially be on the cards sooner than we had thought, but what will it look like post-COVID-19?
Will digital health passports be mandatory for all who wish to travel?
We’ve already seen airlines such as Emirates and Etihad bring in digital health passport requirements and apps such as the IATA travel pass for passengers to complete before boarding.
You may also remember Alan Joyce last year stating that proof of a COVID vaccine will be needed to fly Qantas internationally, so this could well be the future of travel.
What even is a digital passport?
Gone are the days where you collected stamps in your passports – so are traditional passports set to be replaced with health passports?
Instead of a passport with facial or fingerprint data (which most of us would have now), a digital health passport is a certificate in digital form that verifies the holder has low chances of spreading COVID-19 – or any other virus or disease.
Vaccination history and other requirements will be loaded onto the smartphone app, to prove immunity and give you entry to the country you wish to travel.
What’s going on around the world?
Sweden is planning to launch a digital coronavirus “vaccine passport” by the northern summer, assuming there is an international standard in place for the document by then, the government says.
Governments and developers around the world are exploring how such certificates could help to reopen economies by identifying those protected against COVID-19.
“When Sweden and countries around us start to open up our societies again, vaccination certificates are likely to be required for travel and possibly for taking part in other activities,” Swedish digitalisation minister Anders Ygeman said in a news conference.
Denmark also said on Wednesday that it would launch the first version of a coronavirus vaccination passport by the end of February.
However, the UK vaccine minister, Nadhim Zahawi, has said the UK government does not plan to introduce vaccine passports to enable people to travel abroad, but those who needed proof could get it from their GP.
Back to Australia
The Australian government hasn’t yet announced plans for use of a digital health passport. But tech such as goPassport, a locally-developed digital health passport, has been backed by the Australian Tourism Export Council.
Australian Tourism Export Council MD, Peter Shelley, described goPassport as “the technological and clinical backbone for the future of travel.”
Do you think Australia will bring in digital health passports? Do you think that we’ll require one to travel? Let us know what you think, email email@example.com
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