Covid Green Pass for International Travel | June 2021
The report contains 6 key findings, which inform 5 recommendations. Given the risk posed by Covid variants, this report proposes that UK should progress the implementation of a digital ‘Covid Green Pass’ before reopening international travel further. Covid Green Passes should not be used as an alternative to low prevalence strategy, but rather as an essential element of a suppression policy.
At the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus’ 22nd session on 4th May the group heard evidence on the use of ‘vaccine passports’ for mass events and international travel. The rapid growth of the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of concern highlights the importance of continued vigilance when seeking to tackle Covid-19.
Based on the evidence heard, the APPG believes that current measures put in place at UK entry points by the UK government are not sufficient to address the threat of importation of new variants posed by international travel.
1. The Covid Green Pass must contain and display proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test via a simple ‘green/red’ system and QR code. Vaccination status alone should not be sufficient for international travel, and should be combined with a negative PCR test in order to provide the strongest possible protections against Covid variants being imported into the UK. This should remain in place until a high level of vaccination is attained globally.
2. The Covid Green Pass should be integrated with the currently available NHS app. The government should work with the NHS to ensure that wherever possible data used on the Covid Green Pass is held by the health service.
3. The UK government should ensure that a Covid Green Pass is compatible and fully integrated with e-gates at UK entry points. International travel cannot resume safely until e-gate integration is completed.
4. The UK government should, once international travel can resume safely, consider measures to reduce the cost of PCR tests such as VAT exemptions, capping test prices and exploring whether the NHS can build the capacity to carry out tests for international travel.
5. The UK government should aim to ensure the implementation of a digital Covid Green Pass is compatible with other international systems such as the European Union Covid Green Certificate.
1. While the UK and global population remain only partially vaccinated, and because vaccination does not negate the risk of transmission of Covid-19, the focus of the ‘Covid Green Pass’ should continue to be proof of a recent negative PCR test.
2. Vaccines, and therefore a Covid Green Pass, are not a ‘silver bullet’. A Covid Green Pass should be considered in line with other strategies to reduce exposure risk and make spaces Covid secure. The Government should work towards a low prevalence solution.
3. Paper-based solutions contribute to lengthy queues and mixing in arrival halls. They are more susceptible to fraud than a digital Covid Green Pass. Paper-based documents are not a long-term solution.
4. E-gate upgrades must be implemented before international travel is resumed in summer. Without e-gates, queues will continue to be ‘unacceptable from a welfare, safety and security perspective’.
5. The Covid Green Pass should be implemented across all four nations of the UK.
6. The Covid Green Pass should be integrated with the NHS app, and combine both test results and vaccination status.