A health passport for travellers

By | Category: Travel news

Francina Armengol, the President of the Balearic Islands, said last Sunday that the EU should plan for quick airport tests either on departure by travellers so that destinations were aware that the traveller had a clean bill of health.

Austria has also backed this idea and many other countries are considering such a unified scheme. It has already received the backing of one Spanish hotel chain that has hotels around the world – Melia Hotels.

For such a plan to work, all EU countries would have to agree on how it is to operate. Should tests be carried out on departure and arrival or only on departure>

Can tests be carried out quickly or will such procedures substantially add to the time spent by passengers at airports? Will airports have the staff to enable them to carry out tests or will they have to hire and train staff?

If passengers carry these so-called health passports, how long will they retain validity? Just for the present trip? A month? Three months?

And what will happen in the case of Britons who are technically not EU citizens yet nor are we outside the EU until after the end of the year? Will EU countries accept British visitors if they agree to this testing when they arrive? What will happen if EU countries test on departure and the UK does not?

What might be the situation crossing between Northern Ireland and Ireland for day trippers and those who commute?

What of people boarding international trains at St Pancras for France, Belgium and elsewhere? Will here have to be testing facilities there and at intermediate stations like Ebbsfleet and Ashford?

What of those taking a cruise? Will they be tested before they board and prior to each port at which the cruise ship visits? Can a cruise company cope with this testing if it is one of the super cruise ships carrying 5,000 plus passengers? What of river cruise journeys where you can slip from one country to another in hours? Carrying so few passengers do they have room for testing facilities?

And finally what of coach tours? Does the driver undergoing retraining so that he can test passengers before they reach the next country or does the coach company hire staff from a company to enter the coach and test passengers?

Given that all this is feasible, who will pay for the testing? The country you are visiting as well as the country of departure? Will the passenger have to pay as they travel?

The idea of a health passport will take a lot of resolve by countries and considerable planning if it is to be implemented this year.

Will all travellers have to carry a record of the testings they have had?

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