China first country in the world to launch virus passport
China has launched a Green Virus Passport in the form of a health certificate program and is thought to be the world’s first known “Virus Passport.”
- The program includes an encrypted QR code allowing authorities of other countries to obtain health information of tourists from China.
- The United States and Great Britain are among countries currently considering implementing similar permits that can act as a virus passport.
- The challenge to restart travel around the world will be to share a technology that guarantees a uniform health passport system shared by most countries.
China has announced that a green virus passport, or health certificate, will be a digital or paper certificate showing the vaccination status of a citizen and the results of tests and swabs performed. The certificate can be obtained through the WeChat platform which launched yesterday, it will initially be available only for Chinese citizens and will not be mandatory.
China’s program includes an encrypted QR code that allows the authorities of other countries to obtain the health information of tourists from China. QR health codes within WeChat and other Chinese smartphone apps are already required to gain entry to domestic transport and many public spaces in China.
The certificate is being rolled out “to help promote world economic recovery and facilitate cross-border travel,” a foreign ministry spokesman said. However, the international health certificate is currently only available for use by Chinese citizens and it is not yet mandatory.
The United States and Great Britain are among countries currently considering implementing similar permits that can act as a virus passport. The European Union is also working on a vaccine “green pass” that would allow citizens to travel between member countries and abroad.
Airlines have also organized themselves to produce a digital health passport that is as uniform as possible to the greatest number of carriers. Here, IATA took the field with its Travel Pass, which is already being tested on some airlines and will enter an advanced stage of use on the London-Singapore route starting on March 15.
The challenge to restart travel around the world – as already pointed out by numerous players in the travel sector – will be to share a technology or adopt a tool that guarantees a uniform health passport system shared by most countries and the industry.