EU reaches deal on COVID-19 travel pass

EU reaches deal on COVID-19 travel pass

The European Union (EU) member states reached an agreement on the introduction of a COVID-19 certificate system that can facilitate free movement within the bloc, announced the European Parliament Thursday.

The commonly recognized digital certificate will be able to prove a traveller who is fully vaccinated, or tests negative, or has recovered from the virus, and the holder of the certificate is thus free of travel restrictions.

According to CGTN, the European Commission previously presented a proposal on March 17, with a plan to introduce a “Digital Green Certificate” within the EU to facilitate the free movement of people across the region.

The official name of the travel pass was later changed into “COVID-19 certificate”.

The EU said that the COVID-19 certificate will be recognized by all the EU member states, and that the scheme also covers Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

In April, Kenya announced it is currently in talks with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the UN’s International Civil Air Organization (ICAO) to roll out vaccine passports for her citizens in 2022.

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Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the discussions with the two UN bodies will focus on how to implement the passport in the most effective way.

“We will have a vaccination card for COVID-19 and probably you need to be vaccinated every year,” Balala said during the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination drive for all frontline workers in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Balala said that at the moment, vaccination against COVID-19 cannot be a requirement to travel into and out of Kenya because most countries have not inoculated their population.

According to a new Ipsos survey for the World Economic Forum (WEF), there is strong global support for vaccine passports by maltinationals.  

The report shows that more than three-quarters of people worldwide – 78 percent – support requiring travelers to carry COVID-19 vaccination passports.

A majority of the poll’s respondents were found to be in favour of vaccine passports in every nation surveyed. 73 percent of respondents said vaccine passports would make travel and large events safer, with support ranging from more than eight in 10 people in Argentina, China, India, Malaysia and Peru to 52 percent in Hungary and 53 percent in Russia.

The strongest support was in Malaysia and Peru where 92 percent and 90 percent of people backed vaccine passports for travel respectively.

However, 58 percent of Poland citizens were the least enthusiastic about the idea.

Ipsos surveyed over 21,000 people in 28 countries.

Globally, 67 percent think COVID-19 passports should also be compulsory in public venues like stadiums and concert halls with the strongest support in India, Chile and Malaysia all at 84 percent support while in Russia and Hungary only 31 percent and 47 percent agreed they were necessary.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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