Grant Shapps outlines the 'way forward' for vaccine passports
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Vaccine passports have been a hot topic around the world, flagged as a crucial way to reopen travel. Today, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps has confirmed the UK is working on its own travel app.
Speaking on Sky News this morning the transport secretary explained it would work by using an already existing NHS app which Britons can currently use to book appointments with their doctor.
“In terms of vaccine certification I can confirm we are working on an NHS application,” said Mr Shapps.
“The actual app will be the NHS app which is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS.
“It will show that you have had a vaccine or that you have had testing.”
The transport secretary added he is already in talks with nations around the world to ensure the apps are mutually “recognised”.
“I am working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised,” he explained.
“Actually I am chairing a meeting of the G7 Secretaries of State for transport, my equivalent for America and Canada and all of the other G7 countries on exactly that.”
The app currently allows Britons to book appointments with their doctor, as well as storing their medical data in a digital form that can be viewed from the app.
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The transport secretary did not yet explain how it will work for travel but it is likely vaccination and COVID-19 testing history will be included in the medical data available.
Already nations including Spain and Greece have said they will welcome Britons back and will recognise the UK’s vaccination certification programme.
Fernando Valdes Verelst, Spain’s tourism minister, said he is pushing for the UK and Spain’s digital vaccination certifications to be “mutually recognised.”
“June will be the start of the recovery of tourism in Spain,” he said.
“By then, we will have a digital vaccination certificate in place and we will be able to reopen our borders.”
Meanwhile, Greece confirmed it will welcome Britons back, and suggested it will accept NHS vaccine appointment cards as evidence for travel until an official app is developed.
In a statement, the Greek Tourism Board said: “Our understanding is that a health pass will be forthcoming.”
Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis told The Times: “Until the UK has a digital passport, we have seen the paper cards that are provided with the two vaccine appointment dates and we are recognising them.
“They can be used on the ground and at the borders.”
Britons will be able to jet off to some countries without the need for quarantine on their return if they are included on the Government’s green list.
However, testing and vaccine passports are to play a role in the requirements for international travel.
Mr Shapps said: “In the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to tell you which countries have made it into the traffic light system and that green list, in particular, are the countries you will be able to go to where you won’t need to quarantine on return.
“You will still need to take a pre-departure test and one test on your return.”
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