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NHS app to be used as vaccine passport for travel

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Transport secretary Grant Shapps says an NHS smartphone app will be used as a Covid passport for international travel.

In an interview with Sky News, Shapps said the NHS app currently used for people to book NHS appointments would be used for Brits to demonstrate whether they have had a Covid vaccine, or tested negative for the virus, before travelling abroad.

This is a different app from the Covid app currently being used for people to check-in to venues.

The transport secretary also said he would soon be setting out details of which countries have made it on to a ‘green list’. These will be countries where Brits will be able to travel without having to quarantine on their return, although they will still need to undergo a coronavirus test before their departure, as well as on their return to the UK.

Under the government’s roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions, holidays could potentially restart on 17 May. Data from the government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre will confirm which countries would be deemed green, amber or red under the traffic light system.

Shapps said the government would be monitoring vaccination rates, infection levels, concerns about coronavirus variants, and the accuracy of a country’s Covid reporting when deciding how to categorise foreign destinations.

The news comes as Greece and Spain both announced they would be welcoming tourists this summer.

Spain aims to reopen to overseas holidaymakers from June under the Covid digital health certificate scheme. Spain’s secretary of state for tourism Fernando Valdés said that the programme – under which tourists could show they have been vaccinated, tested negative or recently recovered from the virus – would prove “fundamental to offering travellers certainty”.

Greece has said it will allow Brits who have had both coronavirus jabs to enter the country using only their paper handwritten NHS card as proof. Unvaccinated arrivals in Greece will need to show evidence of a negative PCR test.