Proof of Covid-19 vaccination, tests should only be temporary travel requirements, industry group says

In this picture illustration, a message saying “COVID-19 PCR test result has been verified, of Travel Pass app mobile application by IATA (International Air Transport Association) seen displayed on a smartphone screen in front of IATA logo.

Pavlo Gonchar | LightRocket | Getty Images

Travel restrictions that require proof of Covid-19 vaccines or negative tests should be lifted once the pandemic is under control, the new head of the International Air Transport Association said Wednesday.

“These are measures which will be needed as temporary preparations whereas we undergo this disaster, however as soon as we’re by way of it, we need to see these restrictions completely eliminated so folks can get again to touring as they skilled again in 2019,” Willie Walsh, former CEO of British Airways’ parent International Consolidated Airlines Group, said in his first press briefing as IATA’s director general.

In the interim, Walsh said travelers need access to digital health certificates to make travel easier.

Airlines, hotel companies and others in the tourism industry have urged government authorities to work toward lifting travel restrictions, such as a more than yearlong entry ban on most noncitizens from Europe into the U.S. and vice versa. They also called for government officials to set standards for digital health passports as more people are vaccinated.

IATA, which represents close to 300 airlines worldwide, has rolled out its own digital health passport. IATA said Singapore will start accepting it next month so travelers can start uploading their Covid-19 test results to show airlines and immigration officials. Some airlines like JetBlue Airways and United Airlines have introduced trials of one other digital well being passport by The Commons Project Foundation.

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