Waiting game: the vaccination centre in Westminster Abbey, central London
Waiting game: the vaccination centre in Westminster Abbey, central London

Travellers will be given vaccine certification for foreign trips, says minister

Europe is fast-tracking its Digital Green Certificate

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Friday 26 March 2021 09:18

When overseas holidays are permitted once more, the government will provide official certification of a traveller’s vaccination status.

At present leisure travel abroad is illegal, and from Monday 29 March a £5,000 fixed penalty will apply to anyone in England who tries to take a foreign holiday.

The government has indicated it may allow international travel from 17 May, but there is much uncertainty about the rules that foreign countries may apply.

Some are already allowing easier arrival processes for travellers who have completed a course of vaccinations, and Greece and Cyprus say immunised holidaymakers will not need to take a Covid test.

The housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, told Times Radio this morning: ”On the international stage, vaccine certification is not entirely within our control and if our citizens want to travel abroad, we’ll need to ensure that they are able to do so.”

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Since November, the UK government has acknowledged that some kind of vaccination certificate would be required to smooth the progress of travellers.

The first Global Travel Taskforce report identified the need for “a global framework for validating test results and vaccination records”.

The government says: “The UK is working with other countries who have started similar programmes, to lead global efforts to adopt a clear international framework with standards that provide consistency for passengers and industry alike.”

In the absence of international agreement on such a document, a range of participants – including airlines, individual nations and the European Union – are developing their own solutions.

At the European Parliament on Thursday, MEPs voted by 468 to 203 in favour of fast-tracking the approval of the EU’s “Digital Green Certificate”.

The certificate, which can be stored on a mobile phone or printed on paper, is hoped to be introduced by the summer.

It will not be available to British travellers, but the UK may develop a linked system.

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