Vietnam Airlines to pilot digital health passport project

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines will work with domestic and foreign agencies to roll out a “COVID-19 vaccine passport” project.
March 24, 2021 | 07:21
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Passengers on a Vietnam Airlines flight. Photo: VNA

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines plans to roll out the “COVID-19 vaccine passport” initiative in an effort to boost traveling.

The VOV reported that representatives from the airline have worked with partners from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on a digital health passport project.

Vietnam Airlines was invited by the association to pilot the IATA Travel Pass app, which can help travellers and governments manage travel health credentials.

The Travel Pass, available on iOS and Android platforms, is a mobile app that allows travellers to store and manage certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines and create a “digital passport.”

The information provided through the Travel Pass can be used by governments requiring testing or vaccination proof as a condition of international travel during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. A critical aspect is the fact that the information supplied is verified. It is a secure means to manage health requirements and much more efficient than paper processes.

The IATA Travel Pass is being piloted by more than 20 airlines worldwide, including five-star airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Vietnam Airlines continues to ensure that international flights are carried out in line with the COVID-19 prevention and control standards. Photo: VOV

According to IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac, the successful implementation of the IATA Travel Pass demonstrates that technology can securely, conveniently, and efficiently help travellers and governments manage travel health credentials.

This is an important basis for international aviation activities to restart, he emphasised.

The app is forecast to become a global trend, helping countries be more confident in easing travel restrictions and thus rebounding their aviation industries as soon as possible.

Apart from piloting the “COVID-19 vaccine passport”, Vietnam Airlines continues to ensure that international flights are carried out in line with the COVID-19 prevention and control standards at the fourth level - the highest level in its disease safety system.

The carrier is accelerating the completion of procedures to register with the Ministry of Health and relevant agencies to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for all its staff and their relatives.

This demonstrates its efforts to ensure safety on flights, the VNA said.

PM orders consideration of COVID 'vaccine passport'

Foreign tourists walk on Bui Vien backpacker street in downtown HCMC, March 2020. Photo: VnExpress

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered relevant agencies to map out plans for "COVID-19 vaccine passport" implementation to soon help tourism and aviation sectors recover.

He requested relevant agencies to consider "appropriate anti-pandemic prevention measures" as the country adopts an official policy for COVID-19 vaccine passport holders.

His directive came after tourism experts earlier this month suggested the government consider opening up to vaccinated foreign visitors from the third quarter in a similar vein to regional peers to revive the hard-hit tourism industry.

While some experts proposed those holding "vaccine passports" should still undergo 14-day quarantine in the absence of information on the potential risk of infection following two-dose inoculation, others suggested the exemption of mandatory quarantine if foreign arrivals show a vaccine certificate and negative test results before and after entering the country.

The PM also ordered relevant agencies to consider gradually resuming international flights.

The government has closed national borders and canceled all international flights since March last year with only Vietnamese repatriates, foreign experts and highly-skilled workers allowed in with stringent conditions.

The government last year green-lighted the resumption of commercial flights to seven Asian destinations, mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, but Vietnamese carriers are still not allowed to operate inbound flights.

Due to border closures and travel restrictions, Vietnam recorded a 79 percent decline year-on-year in the number of foreign visitors in 2020, according to official data.

As the world started rolling out COVID-19 vaccine shots, inoculation certificates have emerged to identify those that have been vaccinated for cross-border travel, according to VnExpress./.

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