Hanoi (VNA) – Electronic health passports are considered one of the solutions to resume operations of international flights as well as the revival of tourism, trade activities and the recovery of economies around the globe, according to insiders.
Representatives from some State agencies said that the passports are expected to help Vietnam re-open its door to the world and rescue the tourism and aviation sectors after a year hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resuming tourism, trade activities
On July 1, the European Union (EU)’s Digital COVID Certificate will take effect and is hoped to enable member countries re-open their borders. The certificate is accepted by all EU member countries, allowing EU citizens travel safely in the bloc without any discrimination.
In Vietnam, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has proposed the Ministry of Transport to ask for competent agencies’ approval of “vaccine passport” to speed up the re-opening of international flights.
The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has become the first airline to coordinate with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to begin piloting the digital health app IATA Travel Pass from June 1.
Vietnam Airlines General Director Le Hong Ha said that the application is considered the key to open up the border, facilitating passengers’ travel between nations, and meeting all entry requirements of authorities and governments of countries.
Governments should recognise and allow the wide application of the IATA Travel Pass , helping speed up the normal operations of international passenger transport, he said, stressing that the most important target is to regain passengers’ confidence while flying.
IATA is committed to supporting and closely coordinating with Vietnam Airlines throughout the trial period.
The IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app that allows travellers to store and manage certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines. The app has been available in iOS and Android stores.
It has received positive feedback from governments of 70 countries and applied by more than 20 airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Etihad, Emirates, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, and Ethiopian.
On March 17, Singapore Airlines successfully applied IATA Travel Pass in its flight from Singapore to London.
Vinoop Goel, IATA Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Airports & External Relations, said that the IATA Travel Pass will help airlines check if the health certificates of their customers meet the regulations of the destination country or not. The processing of many kinds of documents as present will cost much time for airlines when tourism resumes, he said.
Good preparations needed
In order to facilitate the application of “vaccine passport” in travelling, countries should recognise each other’s certificates in a comprehensive and synchronous manner in terms of language, data and information security.
According to CAAV leaders, Vietnam has yet to issue legal regulations related to the application of the “vaccine passport” as well as government and ministry-level agreements with other countries to enable the application for foreigners.
Aviation enterprises have proposed that ministry and sectors consider the taking of steps to re-open international flights and make good preparations to apply the “vaccine passport” and controlled trade, ensuring safety against the pandemic.
Earlier, addressing the launching ceremony of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Vietnam, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said that the vaccination system of Vietnam will be connected with the systems in other countries and expanded to link with the “vaccine passport” in the future with the whole management system using QR code. Those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 will receive certificates and have their information updated in their electronic personal health records.
In a cabinet meeting in early May, Deputy Health Minister Tran Van Thuan said that the Prime Minister had directed the ministry to coordinate with relevant ministries and agencies to consider suitable pandemic prevention and control measures when the “vaccine passport” is applied.
The “vaccine passport” will only be effective if herd immunity is reached in the community, which means 70 percent of the population is vaccinated, he said, adding that Vietnam should make careful consideration to ensure safety and efficiency of the solution’s application./.