May 9, 2021

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Sections of the vaccine passport disrupt the return of international travel

Camilla Gregersen calls it “getting our freedom”. On Wednesday last week, Danish employers contacted 10% of Danish people to write the Covid-19 test the same day to apply for a digital coronavirus passport. In less than half an hour, the ill-advised side effects entered the “coronapas” and they were able to use it to visit museums and restaurants in Copenhagen.

The most popular passport, which gives the Danes access to everything from football matches to hairdressers to house bars, stops the queue hundreds of meters long outside the test site.

But while it has managed to help reopen the economy, there are questions about whether it would be in line with international travel experiments.

A coronavirus passport in some way seems necessary to resume walking in the summer. But there is little hope of a global system and instead there are potential conflicts of contention.

Many countries are developing their own passport or certificate as well as Denmark. The EU is working to establish a pan-continent system. In the US the various forms of passports are becoming increasingly popular in the state. The International Air Transport Association, is still a pilot-led program.

Everyone is facing technical, practical and ethical barriers as well as a number of unanswered questions. Which vaccines will be considered and how many doses are needed? Will travelers need to provide digital proof of their identity, or simply write a note?

“If every country has a different policy, each country has a different system, each country has different needs. It disturbs passengers, as well as disrupts flights, “Akbar Al Baker, chief of Qatar Airways, told the Financial Times.

Didier Reynders, EU Commissioner, said on Wednesday: “If we can get involved in politics, the technical answer will be ready in time.

The coronapas in Denmark

All Danish residents have a unique number and a yellow barcode ID. Min Sundhed (MyHealth) smartphone app connected to these machines. At the testing site the vaccine card is tested and the test results or vaccine evidence can be sent to the citizen’s phone. The disease is usually diagnosed two weeks after the last vaccination; within 72 hours of malignant PCR or rapid antigen testing; or 14-180 days after initial testing.

The EU is working hard to create a “green digital certificate” by the end of June to coincide with the resumption of free travel within the bloc. It is interesting that there will be no vaccination passport: evidence of a virus or malignant test within 72 hours of re-examination will be valid, as in Denmark. Majken Bramstrup, a former PR consultant in Copenhagen, realized that people could get the virus in a 72-hour window. “As a human being, you have to think: do I want to take this risk?”

But each EU will be able to establish its own rules and there are already signs of different approaches.

Greece, one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, allows those vaccinated by the Russian Sputnik vaccine and three Chinese jabs to enter undisclosed. Visitors from non-EU countries including Russia, the US and the UK were allowed to enter last week, after receiving a vaccine or PCR testing recently.

In contrast, Spain is cautious, awaiting EU international rules before resuming tourism in June. Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry and Tourism, told FT: “We respect the agreement that exists between the EU. We know that some European countries want to open up first, as is the case in Greece, but we do not want to be in any danger.”

The French program TousAntiCovid, left, is used for boarding at Orly Airport, right © Bloomberg

EU member states are Estonia, a regular pioneer, and Germany and France. Paris will add valid tests and vaccine results to existing ones TousAntiCovid Connect with an international support program. But, unlike Denmark, they do not want to use the system to be able to manage bars and restaurants.

Cédric O, France’s new prime minister for digital events, said it would especially be “useful for major events such as concerts, festivals, or conferences”. France began testing the program Tuesday to move to Corsica and will soon expand into foreign regions such as Guadeloupe.

The European Commission has hired Deutsche Telekom and Germany’s SAP to develop a so-called solution to ensure that global systems communicate. It intends to operate a five-nation airline in May and hopes that its technology, based on Qann scannable codes, can become a global platform.

How a coronavirus passport can work on a trip to the EU

© FT research; IATA

  1. Travelers are vaccinated

  2. Much of their content is stored in international medical bins

  3. The national database is linked to an EU gateway that serves as a region

  4. Travelers can verify their identity and can receive the vaccine through the EU gateway

  5. The responsibility of a travel agent with a limit of requirements at the destination

  6. If this is consistent then the passenger receives a travel permit and a QR code confirming this

A brief recollection of attempts to create affiliate programs last year, which led to a split in Europe. But a health worker in France said: “It’s different this time because this job is very important because all you have to do is confirm the signatures, without taking complicated data about the movement of people.”

Some worry about the security behind the “green digital certificate”. Carmela Troncoso, assistant professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, said this was “surprisingly unreliable” and that there were no barriers to ensuring that legitimate QR programs did not store data. Deception is another matter. Denmark currently allows people to print coronapas and proof that it can be easily stolen.

In the US, where the government administers the vaccine, passport procedures are more common. About 17 companies and corporations are using their passports, including one with IBM being tested in New York State.

Officials in Biden warned last month: “Without any cooperation from all over the world, [the] communities can be filled with a wide range of conflicting, interdependent and reliable interdisciplinary interactions. ”

But officials are blocking the existence of a government program, largely because of anti-Republican sentiments. Ron DeSantis, the Republican ambassador to Florida, says he has banned government agencies from issuing certificates of any kind, as well as businesses they want.

Some companies require a passport for aircraft. The IATA Travel Pass machine was first tested in the UK last week when Virgin Atlantic passengers crossed Heathrow for Barbados. Competing machines supported by other airlines are CommonPass, which is sponsored by the World Economic Forum. But pilots are disappointed that there are no international standards for licensing.

Despite the problems, Al Baker of Qatar Airways said governments should be strengthened from the past, citing yellow fever certificates that have been included in passports for years and wanted by many African and Latin American countries as evidence of vaccination. “I think we should go back to the old days. . . this should be repeated, but in the form of a computer which we now call pass, ”he said.

An Argentine citizen has an international safety certificate issued by the Argentine Ministry of Health, as well as a hypodermic pending antibody for yellow fever in Buenos Aires on 16 January 2008 before traveling to Brazil.  The World Health Organization has advised travelers to the Brazilian highlands to get their yellow fever vaccine as the number of deaths in the country has risen sharply on Tuesday.  AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA (Picture should be read JUAN MABROMATA / AFP via Getty Photos)

International vaccination certificate, issued in Argentina for those wishing to travel to Brazil in 2008 when the country was infected with yellow fever

Additional reports of Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan in London, Daniel Dombey in Madrid and Eleni Varvitsioti in Athens. Artwork by Kari-Ruth Pedersen