Australia Plans Digital Border Pass for Vaccinated Travelers
(Bloomberg) -- Australia is developing a digital border pass to show the vaccination status of travelers in a step toward further reopening its international border.
The government awarded Accenture Plc the tender to deliver the pass that will replace the current Covid-19 travel declaration form and incoming passenger card.
It “will support the safe re-opening of Australia’s international borders” Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said in a statement. “This will help us to welcome home increasing numbers of Australians, and welcome the tourists, travelers, international students, skilled workers and overseas friends and family we’ve all been missing during the pandemic.”
Australia’s international border has been mostly closed to non-residents since March last year to control the spread of the coronavirus, with anyone returning forced to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine. The government has said it aims to increase travel to and from the nation once 80% of the adult population is fully vaccinated. Currently that rate stands at about 34%, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker.
Europe is so far the only region where so-called vaccine passports are widely used. The International Air Transport Association, which represents almost 300 airlines globally, last month urged countries around the world to adopt the European Union’s Digital Covid Certificate as the global standard for vaccine certification. Qantas Airways Ltd., Australia’s national carrier, has said only fully vaccinated passengers will be allowed on its overseas flights.
Outbreaks of the delta variant have forced Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, into lockdown and authorities there are now focusing on ramping up vaccinations instead of trying to eliminate the virus.
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