UK vaccine records to be linked with travel passports, but they dare not call them “vaccine passports
(Natural News) The U.K.’s customs and immigration agency said efforts to digitally link vaccination records and travel passports are currently underway. The endeavor aims to avoid long lines at access points when the U.K. reopens its borders, claim government workers. Thus, legislators and travel industry bigwigs have called to expedite the integration of vaccine records into travel documents in anticipation of returning travelers.
A Daily Mail report said the U.K. Border Force is working to enable electronic passport gates to automatically verify travel documents. It added that the plan will now permit automatic gates to check if someone has been vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus before they are allowed entry. Border Force hopes to have the system in place by mid-summer – but members of parliament (MPs) and travel industry figures want the changes sooner. They warned that travelers could spend up to 10 hours lining up for manual document checks if the plan is delayed.
Another report by The Times said documents such as passenger locator forms and negative COVID-19 test results can be digitally linked to travel passports. Once a traveler passes through the e-gate, the passport is automatically scanned and its details logged into the system. The appropriate quarantine rules can then be enforced on the newly-arrived traveler.
Electronic gates for passports have been closed since February of this year after the British government implemented more stringent verification measures. However, the lockdown exit roadmap drafted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the earliest date that non-essential international travel can resume is on May 17. Given this date, reopening the electronic passport gates in airports will help avoid the anticipated long lines.
The U.K. is readying itself to embrace vaccine passports
Government ministers have expressed confidence that electronic gates could be reopened by August. However, there are calls from MPs and the travel industry to move the reopening before the May 17 date pegged by Johnson.
Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran said that ministers need to take “urgent action” to ensure airports do not become the country’s “Achilles’s heel.” She suggested implementing measures to reduce overcrowding, improve social distancing and isolate passengers coming from high-risk countries.