Governments consider digital health pass rules, seek balance between safety and exclusion

UK, Canada, France and US all using them, but with key differences
Governments consider digital health pass rules, seek balance between safety and exclusion

Event venues in the UK are being asked to adopt digital health passes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 “as a matter of social responsibility” by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as legal restrictions in the country are removed.

Use of the NHS app feature will not be required at nightclubs and other venues, BBC reports, but rather encouraged, though according to the Night Time Industries Association, the suggestion is “disingenuous and unclear.”

The government says that it reserves the rate to mandate the use of health passes, should the guidance prove insufficient.

The seven-day average of new COVID cases in Britain is over 33,000, up from around 7,000 a month ago.

Canada

The Canadian province of Quebec says it will consider requiring ‘vaccine passports’ for entry to facilities like bars, gyms and festivals if it experiences a fourth wave of COVID-19, according to CBC. The plan has not been elucidated in detail, however.

Quebec is proposing a similar system to that briefly used in Israel, before a high vaccination rate and low case counts prompted the country to retire it. Observers are calling for the province to figure out enforcement before it moves ahead with the plan.

Manitoba has begun using proof-of-immunization cards to allow travelers to skip quarantine periods, and to visit hospitals and long-term-care homes. The province’s human rights commission has been inundated with calls complaining about the ethics of the passes, however, and international students are unable to access them.

In Ontario, the Toronto Region Board of Trade is calling on the provincial government to establish a digital health pass system for non-essential businesses, which could allow large events and indoor dining to resume at higher capacities, The Globe and Mail writes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has signalled reluctance to get involved outside of international travel, which the federal government has jurisdiction over.

France

Appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations increased dramatically after French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) will be required for entrance to hospitality and other venues, Politico reports.

A bar owner told the publication that the additional requirement will impose a burden businesses do not have staff for, and many will choose to risk a fine rather than lose income from the scheme. Further, if the rules do not change by August, tourists from non-EU countries will need to take a COVID test every few days to visit many indoor facilities.

The British NHS app will be accepted, according to the French embassy in the UK.

US

Passengers flying to Hawaii from anywhere in the U.S. will be able to use the Clear Health Pass to avoid the otherwise-mandatory 10-day quarantine period, under the state’s Hawaii Safe Travels program.

The Clear Health Pass is accessible through the biometrically-secured Clear app, and able to link to vaccination records from hundreds of vaccine providers and pharmacies, including Walmart, Atlantic Health System, and the state of California.

Travelers who have generated a Clear Health Pass can apply for quarantine exemption through the Hawaii Safe Travels website, and expedite pre-boarding and arrival processes by sharing a QR code, for which they may receive a wristband indicating compliance with entry and exemption requirements.

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