Do you need a health passport to travel?

22 Sep 2020Updated: 4 hours ago | 52 people are reading

Do you need a health passport to travel?

© Lonely Planet Do you need a health passport to travel?

Some governments are considering the possibility of giving people a health passport so they can travel again.

Authorities in Greece say they can open national borders to tourists arriving with a health passport: electronic documents that certify a person's health and confirm that they have been tested negative for COVID-19. Travelers should be able to show the document on their smartphone before boarding their flight and then have their temperature checked as soon as they land. Popular tourist destinations such as Sardinia, Capri and Ischia in Italy and the Balearic Islands in Spain are considering similar measures.

Governments in Germany, France and the UK continue discussions with researchers and technology companies on the ability to develop these health or immunity passports so that people can move freely through their country. Similar to the color-coded QR health system in China that checks whether a person is at risk of infection, the passports would use data from antibody tests specific to COVID-19 to distinguish whether people currently have the virus or not. But there are concerns about the efficiency of these documents when they are introduced.

That's because the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there is currently no evidence that people who develop antibodies after recovery of COVID-19 are immune to a second infection. In a report published on April 24, WHO noted, "At this time during the pandemic, there is not enough evidence about the effectiveness of antibody immunity to ensure the accuracy of an" immunity passport "or" risk-free certificate. " People who assume they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore health advice. "

For the time being, more research is needed before health passports are viable. But it is likely that testing could become the norm when flying. In April, Emirates became the first airline to conduct rapid on-site testing. In partnership with the Dubai Health Authority, the company tested COVID-19 passengers en route from Dubai to Tunisia before boarding with blood tests that yielded results within 10 minutes.

Opening image: ronstik / iStock