People will be asked to demonstrate their Coronavirus vaccination and testing status through using the NHS smartphone app when travelling internationally this summer, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced.
Speaking to Sky News on Wednesday morning, Mr Shapps said that the Government would be able to announce ‘in the next couple of weeks’ which countries people would be able to visit without needing to quarantine this summer.
International arrivals to the UK this summer, including Britons travelling back from overseas holidays, will be based upon a traffic light system. The ‘green list’ will include a list of countries where people will be able to go to without needing to quarantine on their return. Arrivals from countries on the amber list will need to quarantine at home, while arrivals from countries on the red list will need to quarantine in a government-approved hotel, it is understood.
Under current plans though, people will have to take a coronavirus test before their departure and on their return, which will add extra costs and red tape to people’s travels.
The Transport Secretary said on Wednesday that work was underway to develop an app to show whether people have been vaccinated and tested for COVID-19.
It is understood that the app will not be completely new, but that the existing NHS app will be adapted for the new purpose. The app will not be the NHS COVID-19 app, but instead the NHS app used by some people to book GP appointments. Mr Shapps said in interviews on Wednesday morning that he was working with international partners to ensure the app is recognised.
While rates of COVID-19 are very low in the UK currently, there are concerns that if not handled carefully, international travel could lead to the importation of new, potentially more dangerous variants of the virus.