Numerous countries have started to adapt to the ‘new normal’ through the introduction of vaccine and health passports. Usually, the ‘pass’ or ‘passport’ acts as proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test. Some passes are used domestically, while others are used for quarantine free travel. We’re going to compare different ideas adopted by different countries, starting with Australia.
Australia is yet to roll out a vaccine passport or health pass. Back in May, there was an idea to allow those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine to travel around Australia without hotel quarantine and be exempt from restrictions during snap lockdowns. It was then announced in the Federal Government’s four phase national COVID-19 response that vaccinated residents will be entitled to restriction exemptions. In Phase B, new reduced quarantine arrangements for vaccinated residents will be introduced. Phase C will lift all restrictions on outbound travel for vaccinated persons and exempt vaccinated residents from all domestic restrictions. Phase D will allow uncapped inbound arrivals for all vaccinated persons without quarantine. It is assumed that the proof of vaccination for these exemptions will be in the form of a ‘pass’.
Last week, France introduced a ‘health pass’ that shows proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test. The ‘health pass’ will be required to enter cinemas, museums, sports venues, and places catering to more than 50 people. However, the introduction has triggered country-wide protests, with over 100,000 people taking to the streets last weekend and hundreds last Wednesday. Protesters held signs with phrases including “Freedom to choose” and “Hands off my natural immunity!”.
Denmark was one of the fastest countries to implement a pass. Dubbed the ‘Coronapas’, it was launched in April this year, and acts as proof of a negative test result within the last 72 hours, a certificate of vaccination, or proof of a previous infection two to 12 weeks earlier. The pass is required to enter restaurants, museums and other cultural institutions. It is distributed through an app or in physical form.
The EU + Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein
Introduced from July 1, the EU digital COVID certificate can exempt people from testing or quarantine when crossing a border within the EU (or Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein). The certificate is proof of vaccination, have tested negative, or recovered from COVID-19.
As Israel has the highest vaccination rate against COVID-19 in the world, the country was not only able to ease lockdown restrictions, but also implement a “Green Pass”. It exists in both app and physical form and allows fully vaccinated or individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 to access facilities such as hotels, gyms or theatres.