British government gears in developing vaccine passport

Published on : Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Various UK government ministries are working on creating a vaccination passport. This passport could permit foreign tourism by May, by when the vaccination programme in the United Kingdom is expected to allow restrictions to be lifted.

Greece, it is understood, is one country that will admit United Kingdom tourists with a vaccination passport from May. The president of the country’s hoteliers confederation, Grigoris Tasios, says that Greece will be prepared to receive tourists who don’t pose a risk of transmission or infection. Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has been behind the establishment of a common vaccination passport system, and some weeks ago wrote to the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in proposing this.

Greece and Israel are currently negotiating a bilateral agreement for a vaccination certification that would allow travel without any measures, i.e. tests or quarantine. Other countries are moving ahead in developing vaccination passports. Denmark hopes to have its ready or use within three to four months, while Sweden is confident that it will have one in place by the summer.

As for Spain, the foreign affairs minister, Nadia Calviño, is urging the implementation of a common European vaccination passport. During an online conference, ‘Europe 2021, organised by German newspaper Handelsblatt, Calviño, stated that this passport would contribute to the recovery of European and national tourism and boost “strong growth” in the second half of the year.

Although she felt it was “very difficult” to make predictions, the minister, who is also third deputy prime minister, emphasised her hopes for the summer tourism season. To enable this, a harmonised vaccination passport, to be introduced “as soon as possible”, will restore safe mobility and confidence among travellers.

The vaccination programme, Calviño added, is key to recovery and to bringing tourism back to regions of Spain that are most dependent on it, the Balearics being one of these regions. If the programme proceeds satisfactorily, the Spanish economy will register strong second-half growth: “The faster the progress of the vaccination, the quicker the change in trend will occur.”

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