The Australian government is in communication with the International Air Transport Association about providing a digital certificate to the people who are vaccinated. This will enable quarantine-free travel to vaccinated Australian citizens and prevent the hassle of being quarantined on arrival at ports of entry. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has recently taken up the idea of a digital vaccine passport that can be used for domestic travel and is quoted as saying “next most achievable step”. The Australian government is also in talks with international airlines on digital vaccine pass.
The idea looks quite innovative to ensure the passengers traveling are vaccinated which could avoid passengers from going through a long tedious process of being quarantined and also help in preventing the spread of infection. Prime Minister Morrison has indicated that Singapore is the most likely destination that Australia is thinking of having a travel bubble arrangement with and negotiations are underway with the Singapore government on enabling the travel bubble.
IATA is a trade association of 290 airlines from 120 countries. IATA is in talks with the Australian Border Force on the use of IATA travel pass that can be accessed through its mobile application. This application will store the certification information of the user for Covid-19 tests and vaccines.
While Australia does not have provisions for national digital certification and all the data of vaccinated citizens is maintained and stored by the Department of Social Services. IATA in its press statement has applauded the growing number of countries making data and evidence-driven decisions to open their borders to vaccinated travellers. 20 countries have wholly or partially allowed vaccinated travellers. Germany being one of the countries to allow vaccinated travellers without quarantine. Vinoop Goel, who is IATA’s Asia Pacific director for airports and external relations said, “Our goal is to try and make sure that borders reopen, and that too without quarantine because you know if you’re looking at a 14 days or 21-days quarantine, it does not work for business travel, neither does it work for leisure travel.” He also added “So that is our goal, to try and work with government and with airlines and say look, there are options to look at testing and vaccination, a combination of those, and we do understand states have different risk appetites, and different contact tracing and different health capabilities. But we say OK, as part of the overall policy, look at testing and vaccination, and by the way, we have the right digital tools to ensure that anyone coming in is meeting the right requirements in terms of testing and vaccination by using the travel pass. Well, look, this is the next step. And what’s important is, it’s not safe and won’t be for some time for Australia’s international borders to open fully. That’s just not a safe thing to do, but we are working on the next steps. And this is one of those important next steps. I look forward to working through, comprehensively, those proposals with the state and territory governments, and, and I look forward to a constructive way forward.”
Producing a vaccination certificate becomes important to avoid the spread of infection of the Chinese Virus from one country to another. India is currently fighting the surge of the second wave of Chinese Virus Pandemic like other European Countries and North America. A digital certificate will certainly help the airport authorities. Many countries have made vaccination certificates mandatory. The United Kingdom has made it mandatory to produce vaccination certificates for international travellers. Israel and European Union have introduced a digital green pass to enable hassle-free travel for vaccinated people although concerns are being raised about the privacy of the information of users regarding the digital passport. Australia is most likely to introduce the digital passport in the coming days as more of its citizens get vaccinated.
G20 has pushed to restart tourism which would certainly help the badly hit tourism industry across the globe. G20 tourism ministers have agreed to support the safe restoration of mobility by adhering to G20 Rome guidelines for the future of tourism. With G20’s push to restart tourism India is also likely to introduce a digital provision for Vaccinated travellers. India is ramping up its Chinese Virus vaccine production and as per Health Ministry, adequate vaccines would be available by end of June as India targets to vaccinate its entire population by end of this year or January 2022.
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