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France trialing digital health pass for tourists as UK warns travelers of border wait times

France trialing digital health pass for tourists as UK warns travelers of border wait times

France has launched a digital health pass credential for international travel to a limited trial in a bid to allow some resumption of summer tourism, Travelweek reports.

French President Emmanuel Macron revealed the intention for people who can demonstrate proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, as the country gradually lifts its restrictions. The ‘TousAntiCovid’ (roughly ‘all against COVID’ in English) app can currently store negative test results, and is being trialled on select flights.

“We are building a certificate to facilitate travel after these restrictions between the different European countries with testing and vaccination,” Macron told CBS News’ ‘Face the Nation,’ according to Travelweek.

Policy and implementation challenges

The extent of the massive policy and implementation challenges remaining to digital health passes is examined by The Times UK.

Airlines are already at operating at full staffing capacity, and disinclined to take on any new responsibilities, even if the thorny privacy issues and associated liabilities are worked out.

Air travel passengers in the UK have been told to expect six-hour lineups as international travel is reopened on May 17, though an expert told The Times that may be an optimistic estimate. Many countries are significantly behind the UK in their post-pandemic air travel planning.

Linking COVID status with passport checks?

The UK Border Force is prioritizing the reopening of its biometric automatic border control (ABC) gates, and may consider attempting to link COVID status with passport checks.

Mandates by public and private sector stakeholders for privacy-preserving digital identity-linked credentials could present an unrivalled opportunity to spur ‘good’ digital ID, but the landscape of digital health passes is currently a mess.

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