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“The emergence of new COVID-19 variants and rising cases in some countries are behind governments’ reluctance to lift travel restrictions and quarantine. However, we are beginning to see positive developments, such as the recent announcement by European Commission President von der Leyen that vaccinated travelers from the US will be allowed to enter the EU. At least 24 countries have already said they will welcome vaccinated travelers. We expect this to continue and gather momentum as vaccination numbers rise. However, governments should not rely only on vaccinations, as it risks discriminating against those individuals who are unable to get a vaccine for medical or other reasons, or who lack access to vaccines—a common situation in much of the world today. Affordable, timely and effective testing must be available as an alternative to vaccines in facilitating travel,” said Walsh.
“Furthermore, for as long as these health measures are required, governments need to accept digital COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates and to follow global standards for issuing their own vaccination certificates and test results. We are already seeing intolerable waits at some airports, as airlines, passengers and border control authorities are having to rely on paper processes at a time when airports are no longer designed to accommodate them. The IATA Travel Pass addresses this challenge by enabling travelers to control and share their digital vaccination certificate or test results with airlines and border authorities, easing facilitation and reducing the risk of fraudulent documents,” said Walsh.