Blair pushes for G7 to back global Covid vaccine passport scheme

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Former prime minister Tony Blair has called on Boris Johnson to use the G7 to push a global coronavirus vaccine passport scheme.

In a report published by the Tony Blair Institute (TBI) the former Labour leader reportedly said that current travel restrictions were “disjointed” and urged the UK to push the idea of a “global Covid-19 travel pass” at the summit of leaders in Cornwall.

Mr Blair said a vaccine passport would be digital and be able to track your coronavirus “status” wherever you are in the world, as reported by The Telegraph.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove has previously said there were no plans for a passport for those who have been vaccinated.

However the government is reportedly funding eight separate firms to develop such a product which is already used in a variety of countries in the Middle East and Asia.

Mr Blair told The Telegraph on Thursday there were two significant risks if Mr Johnson did not convince his fellow leaders to back a global vaccination passport scheme.

“One is that everyone just does their own thing, which is much more chaotic and difficult to manage. Or secondly, there’s a set of rules in place that you may not be that happy with.”

Zurab Pololikashvili, the UN World Tourism Organisation’s secretary-general, last week told the Global Tourism Crisis Committee in Madrid: “Vaccines must be part of a wider, coordinated approach that includes certificates and passes for safe cross-border travel”.

The leaders of Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Malta have called for the introduction of certificates which designate if a traveller has been vaccinated or not.

Australia’s education minister, Alan Tudge, said planned “digital vaccine certificates” would allow international students to return to study in the country without the need for them to hotel quarantine.

Mr Blair spoke out ahead of the new report by the TBI which makes the case that more restrictive travel rules introduced by the government this week could eventually be more easily repealed if a universal vaccine scheme were in place.

“It’s better to have common rules and a common verification system, so that people know what your disease status is and know it with some validation,” he said.

The former prime minister’s comments come as the government confirmed that UK travellers returning from high-risk countries must quarantine in hotels at their own expense.

Derek Jones, chief executive of luxury travel firm Kuoni, said many people are “very optimistic” about being able to travel from the second half of 2021 and the industry is expecting a spike in demand.

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